PANCHTHAR, May 19: People recharging their phones is a common practice. But people 'recharging' their electricity supply is certainly not. However, this is how the people in Saptami Bazaar of Miklajung Rural Municipality-2 and some other nearby villages pay their electricity bills - they 'recharge' their electricity supply.
These consumers have special digital cards installed in the electricity meter boxes at their homes. They take these cards to the electricity distribution center and pay in advance for the amount of electricity they want and are supplied with electricity accordingly. They call the process 'recharging'.
They start getting electricity the moment they pay. Similarly, the power supply is interrupted when the amount paid last time is used up. When the indicator at the electricity box turns red, the consumer visits the distribution office and 'recharges' the card.
Electricity supply resumes once the card is connected to the meter box. “About 110 households in the area use this method for their access to electricity. The method is convenient and similar to a phone recharge,” said Santosh Sherma, the ward chairman. “The locals pay Rs 7 per unit of electricity consumed. This system came into operation from last December,” added Sherma.
He further informed Republica that the locals are supplied the electricity generated locally from air and solar panels. “Since the hills here witness a heavy flow of air, the electricity-from-air project was implemented for the maximum utilization of the locally-available resource. It took three years and a budget of Rs 49.4 million to complete the project,” said Sherma.
A total of 70 kilowatt of electricity is generated from the Saptami Solar-Air Minigrid Project - 20 kilowatt from air and 50 kilowatt from solar energy. The project has been designed by the Alternative Energy Promotion Center with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The consumers and rural municipality contributed a sum of Rs 4.5 million for the project.
Sherma also informed Republica that the round-the-clock electricity supply has encouraged the development of cottage industries in the area. “The recharge amount starts from Rs 100.