Power Theft

Smart Meters: Are the Returns not impressive?

A peep into Indian reality .

Smart meter is a generic term. It need not be same for two electrical engineers .Generally it is an electronic device that records electricity consumption and communicates the information to another place for data monitoring and billing. Smart meters normally record electricity consumption hourly or more often, and report in any case on a daily basis.

The Government of India has an amazing proposal for 100 per cent smart metering over the country in next two years. However, the responses from different Distribution companies (Discoms) are uncommon and few state distribution companies do not perceive a financial benefit from installation of smart meters. Few states are groping in the dark about the financial benefit that may come out as a result of installation of smart meters and vendors are not inclined to supply to some states, on payment apprehension.

It has a modem (communication device) and a remote switch by which demand, supply and billing can be managed and restricted remotely. Data from these is collected in a cloud server. This reduces Power theft, improves billing efficiency, reduced errors in meter reading and improves bill collection. It helps Discoms to make advance plans in power sector. Discoms can purchase and install smart meters at their choice or avail the facility of ‘’operating expenditure (opex) model’’

Agencies like Energy Efficiency Services (EESL) are willing to  fund installation of Smart meters in India.Here,Discoms have to pay a fixed price  per month  ie about 1 US Dollar  [say 60-80 INR] and agreement has to be made for multi years.

States like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh have not shown any progress either in scheme 1 or 2 . While Haryana has achieved 100% progress in installing smart meters, Tamil nadu recorded zero progress. For changing to smart meter system, the Discoms have to upgrade their billing system which itself is expensive. Discoms with low AT & C losses find it less attractive.

However, Rajasthan, Telangana, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh etc have ordered for Smart meters in million numbers. As financial side of many Discoms is weak, meter manufacturers are apprehensive  in supplying  smart meters in huge quantity.

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