Around 57,000 users of smart electricity meters in Kashmir will switch to a prepaid billing system starting in June. Instead of paying tariffs at the end of the month, customers will need to recharge their power tariff in advance, similar to prepaid mobile services.
The change is in compliance with regulations from the Union Power Ministry, according to officials from the Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL).
All smart meters will automatically convert to prepaid status, and customers will have to pay their May electricity bills before June and make an upfront payment for June. KPDCL will launch a media campaign to inform customers about the change.
Under the prepaid system, if a household typically spends Rs 3500 on electricity per month, they will receive a bill within that range. Customers can prepay the amount and receive usage updates through SMS and the SmartBS App.
Unlike cellular providers, KPDCL will not disconnect service if the prepaid amount is used up. Instead, customers will have a grace period to replenish their accounts and continue receiving electricity.
The prepaid billing option will be available only for smart meter users in Kashmir, and the expansion to other areas will take time, according to Chief Engineer Javid Yusuf Dar.
KPDCL recently announced the successful implementation of a smart prepaid meter for one of its officer’s residential consumer ID. The utility plans to install smart meters for 100% of customers within the next two years.
Smart meters enable consumers to monitor their usage and bills through the SmartBS application on their smartphones. These meters ensure accurate invoicing, maintain voltage levels, and enhance efficiency. Users can easily track their power consumption and adjust their usage accordingly to manage their bills.
Despite initial opposition, more people have embraced smart meters as they have become aware of their benefits, according to officials.