Post meters, water revenue dips 45%
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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) plan to install electronic water meters across the city has backfired to an extent. After installing 68,000 such water meters, water revenue has dropped by 45 per cent for as many connections. The annual revenue from water and sewerage charges is about Rs 800 crore, which is the third largest source of income for the BMC. The civic body, however, plans to go ahead with the programme of installing all meters as the meters charge consumers accurately.
Additional municipal commissioner Rajiv Jalota said the revenue has dropped, especially for domestic consumers of water. So far, 68,000 meters have been installed of the proposed 1.60 lakh meters. There are 3.11 lakh connections in the city out of which 1.51 lakh connections are in slum properties. These will be left out of the exercise and mechanical meters will be fitted here instead.
As of April 15, 17,000 meters have been installed in the island city, 34,000 in the western suburbs and 17,000 in the eastern suburbs. An official from the BMC hydraulic engineering department said while revenue being received from commercial users has increased, that from domestic users has gone by about 50 per cent. 80 per cent of the old meters in the city are damaged or dysfunctional and the users are charged an average of their consumption over the last six months till which accurate reading was available.
"Domestic users were being charged more than their actual consumption while commercial bulk users were being charged lesser than their usage. The quantum of domestic users is much higher than commercial users. Thus, the effect on revenue is expected to show once all the remaining meters are installed. Revenue can drop 30-50 per cent," said the official.
Called Automated Meter Reading (AMR), the project was introduced over two years back to charge consumers as per their actual usage and also to charge slum-dwellers and other consumers using un-metered connections.
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