Nepra updates CSM on slow metering installation issue on SC order

Israr Khan
Friday, Jun 14, 2024

ISLAMABAD: The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) has updated its Consumer Service Manual (CSM) to tackle billing issues stemming from slow metering installations, following a directive from the Supreme Court (SC).

The revision, announced by Nepra on Thursday, centers on Clause 4.3 of the CSM-2021, previously identified as Clause 4.4(e) in the CSM-2010. It limits distribution companies to charging detection bills for a maximum of two billing cycles in cases of delayed meter installations.

The move aims to shield consumers from erratic billing practices and enforce stricter compliance among distribution firms. The decision follows a Supreme Court order in May 2023 prompted by irregular billing practices at the Gujranwala Electric Power Company (Gepco). Nepra’s subsequent review revealed ongoing violations by distribution companies, which were issuing detection bills beyond the allowed period.

According to Nepra, slow meters and defective current transformers (CTs) are not being replaced within the mandated two billing cycles, leading to disputes over inaccurate charges. These discrepancies often arise due to unbalanced loads on three-phase meters, resulting in either consumer overpayments or revenue losses for distribution companies.

To address these concerns, Nepra has mandated that distribution firms promptly replace slow meters and defective CTs within two billing cycles. The authority dismissed proposals to extend the billing period, citing potential inefficiencies and increased consumer burdens.

In a bid to enhance operational standards, Nepra has instructed distribution companies to utilize allocated funds for the installation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Automated Meter Reading (AMR) systems. These technologies are expected to improve billing accuracy and swiftly resolve discrepancies.