Srinagar: Over 57,000 smart electricity meter users have been told by the Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL) that they must switch from postpaid to the prepaid mode to keep receiving electricity. Else, their connections would be cut off.
The customers have been advised by the government-owned KPDCL to settle any outstanding debts before switching their postpaid electricity connections to prepaid mode.
“To avoid inconvenience due to the disconnection of electricity supply, you are requested to clear your previous bills and port your electricity connection from postpaid mode to prepaid service immediately by visiting http://smrtbs.jkpdd, net,” KPDCL said in a fresh notification.
A senior KPDCL official said that switching to the prepaid mode for getting power supply was the only alternative available to the electricity customers.
“Over 57,000 postpaid smart meters in Kashmir would be changed over to prepaid mode in the first phase. It is as per the directive of the Union Power Ministry which has set a deadline to convert all power connections across India to prepaid mode by 2025,” he said.
"It is not something which is being done in Kashmir alone and is happening across the country," he said. “Power consumers in Kashmir have to first clear June bills then their connection will become a prepaid connection.”
On how the pre-paid smart meters operate, the official said, “If a household uses Rs 3500 worth of electricity each month, they will receive a bill in this price range. They can prepay the money and will receive updates on their usage by SMS and SmartBS App. We won't cut off service, as cellular providers do, in the event that the recharged amount is used up. Instead, we'll provide the customer with a grace period during which they can replenish their account and continue to get electricity."
He said that only smart meter users in Kashmir would be allowed to use the prepaid billing option.
"In the coming days, we will cover all areas under smart metering, but it will take some time," the official said.
However, some people are upset by this decision and claim that customers are not aware of it.
Ajaz Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar, said, “KPDCL is moving very quickly with this." He said that besides prepaid payments would further burden the people, who will have to make advance payments for electricity, which was not the case earlier. "Imagine the plight of a family which has nobody using smartphones. How can they port or recharge their connections,” Ahmad said.