The smart meter rollout, delayed since 2018, finally gets under way in the union territory’s largest city Srinagar.
In the first phase, 60,000 smart prepaid meters are due to be deployed before year end, with the whole city due to covered over the next 18 months.
Ajaz Ahmad Dar, Chief Engineer at Kashmir Power Distribution Corporation (KPDCL), was quoted in local press as saying that initially areas of the city are being targeted with good bill payment records.
The aim of the rollout is to reduce the technical and commercial losses and provide 24 hour power supply across the territory.
The project is under the management of India’s Rural Electricity Corporation Power Distribution Company Limited (RECPDCL), which is responsible for procuring and installing 925,000 smart prepaid meters across the rural and urban areas of the territory.
According to the RECPDCL, the delay from 2018 resulted in part from a government of India order requiring a cyber security review of contracts. That found that one of the sub-contractors was a subsidiary of a Chinese company, which was removed from the project in order to avoid the further lengthy delays that would have resulted from security checking with its continued participation.
Electronic metering first started to be deployed in Kashmir to reduce theft back in 2005 but at the time little more than 40% of customers were metered.
The RECPDCL also is responsible for operation and maintenance services for the meters and will manage meter reading and bill generation.
Previously India’s ministry of power had sanctioned 100,000 meters for each of Srinagar and Jammu cities and a further 925,000 meters for the rest of the territory.