1.8 Million smart meters to boost India’s power sector reform


In New Delhi, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), North Bihar Power Distribution (NBPDCL) and South Bihar Power Distribution Company (SBPDCL) to deploy 1.8 million smart electricity meters in 130 towns and adjacent rural areas.

According to the minister of power R K Singh: “The replacement of basic electricity meters with smart meters is a significant step towards enabling power sector reforms in Bihar where enhancing consumer convenience, satisfaction and rationalisation of electricity consumption are the primary objectives.

“Smart meters will reduce aggregate transmission and commercial (AT&C) losses, improve the financial health of power distribution companies, incentivise energy conservation, enhance ease of bill payments and ensure billing accuracy by getting rid of manual errors in meter reading.”

Furthermore, the meters will reduce theft of electricity, as well as detect outages more efficiently allowing for faster restoration times.

Consumers will be able to monitor their usage and apply energy saving tools to reduce bills. Making informed decisions will encourage reduced power wastage, and long-term carbon and financial savings.

The roll out of the smart meter is part of an initiative to use Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to measure energy use and send the data to the supplier via GPRS technology.

Singh added: “It will enhance consumer satisfaction through better complaint management, system stability, reliability and transparency.”

“Thrust on such efficient systems is critical for consumption and growth in a sustainable manner. Smart meters will not just enable consumers to monitor their consumption pattern and the corresponding cost but also act as a pathway for newfound efficiencies by being a vital technology in India’s power sector reform,” said Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director of EESL.

The MoU requires phased installation of the meters over the next 1.5 years.
EESL will finance, build, own, operate, and transfer the smart metering (AMI) solution in the project area at the end of the agreement tenure, and will monetise its investment on monthly annuity basis.

Through its Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP), EESL aims to replace 250 million conventional meters in India with smart meters. The idea is to improve billing efficiencies across the nation, enabling alignment with the loss trajectory agreed by the DISCOMs under the centre’s Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) scheme.