Utilities in India continue to expand their smart metering base to allow customers to operate home appliances remotely, as well as keep a check on energy usage.
Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) has plans to install 250,000 smart meter units in the first phase in north and north-west Delhi. By 2026, 1.8 million smart meters will be operational.
The initiative will allow the government to check which appliances are consuming more electricity and synchronise usage of power-hungry equipment, such as geysers, with off-peak hours, when pricing would be lower.
TPDDL is also set to launch a mobile Android app alongside the meter installation.
During peak-demand hours, the app will alert consumers to reduce their energy consumption level. Consumers reducing usage these times will receive incentives.
The smart model, which could be tied to a dynamic tariff, would help domestic and institutional consumers to reduce monthly energy bills.
Domestic consumers, as of now, mostly get a flat tariff throughout the day, with no distinction between peak and off-peak prices.
“Right now, there is one-way traffic between us and the consumers. With a smart grid and smart meters, it will be two-way communications, ” says Praveer Sinha, managing director of TPDDL.
Customers will be able to use existing appliances to automate their homes, without having to purchase new smart devices.
Automation will be enabled by the use of meters together with smart-grid network back-end infrastructure.
TPDDL’s field force automation programme will also assist linemen deal with consumer complaints quickly and efficiently through remote diagnosis and troubleshooting via augmented reality systems, as well as efficient communication with the consumer.
The initiative will see linemen equipped with a tablet and GPS tracking system to allow route optimisation. An auto-dispatching system would ensure that the closest lineman is given the job.
The smart grid installation initiative will help reduce power theft, a huge challenge in India.
TPDDL, with Omron, has developed a tamper-proof sensor that can withstand high temperature and is water- and fire-proof.
The aim is to use the meters to lower aggregate technical and commercial losses (currently over 20%) and meter tampering.
This move will not only increase revenue protection efforts but will also set the stage for Delhi to move towards the Smart City Mission, a project the government has been pushing to achieve.