Country’s first-ever electric prepaid metre-manufacturing plant here goes into production in the second week of July.
The plant is aimed at fulfilling the huge demand for prepaid metres and thus save foreign currency.
The authorities concerned have completed the necessary preparations for starting the production in the plant, said Abdul Motaleb, secretary of West Zone Power Distribution Company (WZPDCL).
Official sources said the state-owned WZPDCL and Hexing Electrical Company Ltd of China formed a joint venture company, ‘Bangladesh Smart Electrical Company Ltd’, with the Bangladeshi firm having 51 percent stake while the remaining 49 percent going to the Chinese company.
A joint venture contract was signed between the two companies to produce prepaid metres.
On September 2, 2018, the company got the approval from the government involving Tk 28 crore.
At first, the company will start its operation at Mohammadnagar in Khulna city while the WZPDCL will set up its permanent factory at Sheikhpara in the city.
The WZPDCL is providing services to 11,53,849 customers in 21 south-western districts and 20 upazila headquarters.
As part of WZPDCL’s decision to bring its all customers under prepaid metre service, they have set a target to provide power services under prepaid metres to 14.68 lakh customers. Already, a total of 1,54,864 prepaid metres have been installed while the rest 13,13,136 will be installed by 2023.
To implement the Sustainable Development Project of the government, the government has taken a plan to replace 75 lakh electromechanical or digital energy metres with prepaid metres across the country.
As per the plan, the authorities concerned have set a target to install a total of 2,87,00,000 prepaid metres in 2020-2021 fiscal year and some 16,07,584 have been installed under the project. The remaing ones will be installed in phases.
Currently, the government has to import prepaid metres from abroad.
Once the plant goes into operation, it will help save huge amount of foreign currency.
Abdul Motaleb, secretary of the WZPDCL, said the prepaid metres to be manufactured at the plant will be sold to customers at reasonable prices in addition to export.
He said a section of people is involved in spreading propaganda against the prepaid metres and making people confused over its use.
Engineer Md Shafik Uddin, managing director of WZPDCL, said the prepaid metres to be manufactured in the plant will be easily available.