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BSMI inspects 3.5 million measuring instruments to protect consumer rights BSMI, MOEA February 11, 2015(Source: MOEA)

In its continuous effort to protect fair trade and consumer interest, the Bureau of Standards, Metrology and Inspection (BSMI) inspected the precision of 3.5 million measuring instruments in 2014 and successfully stopped 6,503 substandard instruments from entering the market or being used. The inspected measuring instruments include water meters, electricity meters, gas meters, weight scales, fuel dispensers , taximeters, police radar speedometers for law enforcement, laser speedometers for law enforcement, breath alcohol testers and analyzers for law enforcement ,sound level meters for official inspection and vehicle exhaust emissions analyzers for official inspection. The accuracy of measuring instruments could be affected due to several reasons, such as improper use, use under bad environment and aging parts. In 2014, the BSMI inspected 118,072 measuring instruments sold on the market and found 584 inaccurate weight scales and fuel dispensers. The business operators in question have been asked either to stop using the instruments or improve the situation. BSMI Director-General Liou Ming-Jong said that consumers should contact the district service provider ( water/electricity/gas company) for an on-site inspection when they discover a drastically increase in water, electricity and gas bills. If consumers still have doubts after the exclusion of inaccurate meter reading caused by human error or pipe leaks, dispute appraisal can be filed with the bureau and its branches nationwide. When applying for appraisal, consumers should submit the above-mentioned on-site inspection report issued by the service provider and an application form. Refunds will be issued if appraisal found overcharge errors. In 2014, the BSMI accepted a dispute appraisal case where the consumer complained of a drastic increase in water bill. The reading of that water meter increased almost 1000 m3 in two months and the bill reached a high of nearly NTD 10,000. Although the water meter was found to be in conformity with the standards, the bureau noticed an abnormal jump in reading numbers. After cross checking the number with that of the community where the consumer resided, bureau officials found a difference of 1000 m3. The water service provider, informed by the bureau of the situation, agreed to refund the overcharge to the consumer based on the bureau's appraisal report. Due to the rise in electricity rate, the application for dispute appraisal about electricity meters reached a high of 524 cases in 2014 (the annual average was 360 cases). In one of the cases, the tenant applicant suspected the landlord of using un-verified sub-meters. The appraisal report later showed that the meter used by the landlord was not verified by the BSMI and ran 22 percent faster. The landlord has returned the overcharge to the tenant and was subjected to a fine of NTD 15,000-75,000 for violation of the Weights and Measures Act. All electricity meters, either installed by Taipower Company at households or purchased by consumers for private use, such as vendor business, classrooms and dormitory, must pass mandatory verification before use, the BSMI said. On Janurary 6, 2015, the BSMI initiated an ad-hoc inspection of weight scales ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday and paid visits to traditional markets, large retail supermarkets and the New Year good's avenues. Reports show that the conformity rate of the weight scales inspected has reached 99.7 percent-a good sign of fair trade. BSMI Director-General Liou Ming-Jong urges the public to report suspected inaccuracy of measuring instruments by calling the hotline at 02-2834-8456. Agency in charge: Verification, Inspection of Weights & Measuring Instruments Division (7th Division) Contact person: Mr. Chang Chao-Ching Telephone: (02)2831-6092