Gujarat NEWS : MGVCL Initiates Public Education Campaign on Smart Meters  

Following Smart Meters row in Vadodara and Surat, the Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL) has embarked on an initiative to educate the public about the technology and its benefits


VADODARA/SURAT, GUJARAT : Vadodara and Surat have recently seen numerous complaints regarding the new Smart Meters installed by the Gujarat government-run power distribution firm, MGVCL. In response, MGVCL has launched an educational campaign to inform residents about the Smart Meters, aiming to dispel misconceptions and clarify billing processes.

In light of rising opposition and confusion surrounding the new Smart Meters in Vadodara and Surat, the Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL) has embarked on an initiative to educate the public about the technology and its benefits. This move follows a viral video that fueled misunderstandings about the billing process associated with Smart Meters.

The viral video, featuring a woman claiming exorbitant bills due to the Smart Meters, sparked significant backlash. However, upon closer examination, MGVCL officials discovered that the video provided only partial information, likely stemming from a misunderstanding. To address such issues, MGVCL has implemented educational measures and a system of comparative checks.

In a statement, MGVCL officials explained that to mitigate doubts, five old meters (Check Meters) are being installed randomly among every 100 Smart Meters. These Check Meters are connected to the new pre-paid meters, allowing for direct comparison of readings. This initiative ensures transparency and helps reassure consumers about the accuracy of the Smart Meters.

Tejas Parmar, MD of MGVCL, highlighted that the first Smart Meter was installed in his own home, along with a Check Meter. “The counts of the Smart Meter and Check Meter were the same,” Parmar stated, emphasizing that Smart Meters do not generate higher bills. “The only difference between the Smart Meter and the old meter from the consumer’s perspective is the payment mode. Previously, consumers received post-paid bills every two months; now, the mode is pre-paid.”

Addressing the viral video, Parmar clarified the situation involving the woman who complained of receiving a Rs. 2,000 bill in just 12 days. “The Smart Meter was installed at her home on May 2. By May 14, the bill was Rs. 836, of which Rs. 723 was for her consumption at standard rates. The remaining Rs. 113 was from her previous billing cycle’s third month, under the old meter. The previous charges are divided over 180 days and adjusted with the security deposit. So, if the previous billed amount was Rs. 2,000, it would be divided accordingly, resulting in an additional daily charge of around Rs. 11. Hence, the total bill was Rs. 836, not Rs. 2,000 for 12 days.”

The confusion arose because, after using the charged amount, the woman’s consumption exceeded her limit by Rs. 300, and a grace period of five days plus a three-day public holiday delayed the disconnection. When she recharged her account with Rs. 1,500, the system deducted Rs. 300 for the exceeded limit and additional charges for the grace period, leading to the perception of overcharging.