The Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) plans to take legal action against Pune based software company GlobalWorldTech which has developed an Android app called MSEB-Electricity Bill, reports Punemirror.
MSEDCL official claims that it did not give any contract for development of such app. It also states that the information disclosed by the app to a user is taken from MSEDCL’s private servers and is confidential and hence the app does not have any authority to make it public. Another question that arises is whether the app only stores consumer information or it only retrieves information. At the time of writing this article, the app has been pulled out of Google Play Store, else we would have had screenshots up.
GlobalWorldTech had launched the app on Android operating system on July 5, 2013, according to their update on Facebook page. It also claims that MSEDCL had contacted them for developing the app, as disclosed by the publication. However, why would the company remove the app from the Google Play Store if it has the authority to publish the information. According to the publication, the company had developed the app since MSEB bills typically do not reach on time. It allowed users to check their bill and it also sent a reminder to pay the bill before the due date.
Interestingly, there’s also PSPCL Electricity bill payment app on the Google Play Store developed by Pragyaware Informatics Private Ltd. The app allows one to view bill, make a payment, and view payment history. Medianama is not in a position to verify the validity of the app.
In 2009, Indian power company Reliance Energy had tied up with Google to offer consumers the ability to track their power consumption on their computers. In June 2013, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) launched a pilot initiative called Fault Management System(FMS), through which it aims to alert customers about power cuts in advance through SMS
Our take: While a legal course against the company is justified as it’s exposing private data of MSEDCL consumers, however, we feel that MSEDCL should themselves provide such apps on smartphone and also allow one to make payment through the app. Mobile users in India are increasing getting mobile Internet savvy. MSEDCL needs to be more tech savvy and provide access to consumer information to them on platforms that are being used by consumers. An app on Android would be a good start.