Electricity provider introduces new equipment to electronically record meter readings
Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Hanoi has recently started using tablets and something resembling a selfie-stick to read power meters. There are 1,129 such gadgets being used by 29 out of its 30 units reading the meters of 500,000 customers. It is expected that the new equipment will be used to read the meters of 1 million customers by the end of the month.
The price for each piece of the new equipment is around VND4 to 5 million ($183.4 to $229.25). It consists of a long stick (like a selfie-stick) with a tablet attached to the end. The camera in the tablet takes and saves a photograph of the meter showing details such as the power meter’s number (and, hence, its location) and the time and date, which can be used as evidence when a customer complains about their power bill.
If all 2.5 million power meters in Hanoi were to be read in this way then 5,000 pieces of the new equipment would be needed, costing EVN Hanoi billions of Vietnam dong to ensure transparency in meter reading in the capital. Therefore, Mr. Dinh Quang Tri, Deputy General Director of EVN, said the method would only be used to read the meters of big customers such as companies around the country. “With 22 million households having meters nationwide, the traditional method of visually reading the meter will still be used,” he said.
This traditional method costs VND5,000 ($0.23) per meter, for a total monthly outlay of around VND110 billion ($5.04 million) nationwide.
There were 30,320 complaints sent by customers to EVN Hanoi and 117,115 to EVN Ho Chi Minh City in June regarding high power bills, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Recently, some households have checked their meter after EVN staff had read it and found discrepancies, with the number read by the staff being higher than the actual number.