Nearly two years after the erstwhile statutory standing committee in the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) gave its approval, the agency deputed by the water supply department has started replacing the existing mechanical water meters to its latest digital version.
As a part of the pilot project, the standing committee had authorised – Accord Watertech and Infra Pvt. Ltd- a water infrastructure development and water management solution company to replace the age-old mechanical meters with the “smart” ones for 2,928 commercial users in July, 2021. However, the number of commercial users has now increased to around 3,400. Armed with a host of features like- real-time web-based monitoring, date management, accuracy and compatibility, the Narrow Band Internet of Things (NB-IoT) connectivity technology, enabled advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) smart water will not only reduce manpower but will focus on minimising non-revenue water losses while adopting smart billing mechanism and an added ability to share the data with consumers.
Commercial users asked to change meters within 10 days
“We have hired an agency to replace and maintain the meters. Commercial users have been asked to replace their meters within 10 days. Once the meters are installed readings will be available at the control room at the click of a mouse,” said executive engineer- Sharad Nanegaokar.
“Unlike mechanical and AMR (Automated Meter Reading) meters, the life span of these battery-operated ultrasonic meters is around 10 years. Apart from future operational efficiencies such as data collection via sensors to monitor water usage, the AMI can identify leaks by comparing bulk meter readings with end consumers,” said a representative from the agency.
Cost of replacing meter to be borne by users
However, the entire cost of replacing the meter and five-year maintenance has to be borne by the user. From ₹15,248 and ₹40,850 for a 15 mm and 50mm capacity meter respectively, the annual maintenance charges vary from ₹1,083 to ₹1,881 for 1 to 5 years. The remotely controlled valves allow a utility to shut off or turn on water service at a customer connection from the information management system in case of non-payment of bills or any other technical glitch. Only 171 out of the 3,400 commercial establishments have installed the meters so far.
Industry Owners Oppose Move
Although the civic administration claims the replacement as a value-added service to manage water resources more efficiently, owners of commercial entities are against the move owing to the exorbitant pricing structure. “It is clearly a tailor made scheme to benefit the contractors while fleecing the small scale industry and small businessmen by enforcing the purchase and bound them for five years under the guise of maintenance. We will meet the civic chief on Monday and register our opposition,” said Omar Kapoor, president of Small Scale Industries Association.