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Prepaid or postpaid power billing? Consumers in Kashmir don’t have a choice

 Prepaid or postpaid power billing? Consumers in Kashmir don’t have a choice



No proposal to revert prepaid to postpaid again: Officials


Manzoor-ul-Hassan


Srinagar, Jul 06 (KNO): The Power Development Department (PDD) has installed at least 6 lakh smart meters across Jammu and Kashmir as part of major power reforms, officials told the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO). 


However, consumers cannot choose between postpaid and prepaid electricity billing as the power DISCOMS like Kashmir Power Development Corporation Limited (KPDCL) and Jammu Power Development Corporation Limited (JPDCL) have made prepaid meters mandatory.


Officials said that the transition of smart metered consumers to prepaid mode was "final and there was no option to revert to postpaid.”


They said the J&K administration has set a target to achieve 100% smart metering with prepaid billing by 2026, with nearly 22 lakh consumers slated to be covered under the plan.


In Kashmir, 1.22 lakh consumers with smart meters have already switched to prepaid mode.


“The move is aimed at improving revenue collection and reducing power theft. The prepaid mode is also being used to empower consumers to have better control over their energy budget and encourage energy-conscious behaviour,” KPDCL said.


Under smart meters with prepaid functionality, consumers can check, manage, and pay their bills online through the online payment gateway of their choice or recharge through the JK Bank branches.


A senior PDD official told KNO that this system would help reduce transmission and distribution (T&D) losses and power pilferage.


Notably, J&K currently experiences the highest T&D losses in India, estimated at over 40%, which has brought major embarrassment to the department as the central government has repeatedly criticised it.


On Friday, the Principal Secretary of PDD, H Rajesh Prasad, highlighted that despite challenges, the government continues to provide power to consumers at subsidised rates.


He emphasised the need to reduce power losses in J&K, which are primarily due to non-payment of dues and pilferage.


He also dispelled concerns about overcharging or arbitrary charges by smart meters


To recall, J&K refrained from increasing electricity tariffs during the current financial year (2024–25).


In the previous year (2023–24), while metered consumers faced a 15% tariff hike, the government offset this increase by withdrawing the 15% electricity duty on energy charges, resulting in no net rise in consumer bills—(KNO)

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