The West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL) has committed to a first-of-a-kind pilot project to install smart meters in the city of Siliguri.
The installation will begin in July – August 2018 targeting 5,000 households and connecting to a single feeder.
"We will monitor the use for a period of at least a year and then a decision will be taken on whether we will go for more such meters," the WBSEDCL official said.
The integration of hardware, software and necessary infrastructure has already begun and smart meters are already in use in some industrial and agricultural sectors.
The WBSEDCL plans to install the smart meters to effectively curb hooking and pilferage, a main concern of the department. The meters will also ensure an uninterrupted supply of good quality power.
WBSEDCL official have highlighted the advantages of smart meters both from the consumer and the department's point of view.
Consumers will be able to automatically control electrical appliances from a remote location, while the utility company will be able to monitor electricity usage round the clock from its centralised server.
"It also allows a consumer to reduce costs by increasing energy consumption during off-peak cheaper tariff periods," the official said.
It may be mentioned that the state power department has already checked power theft for 8,000 big industries across the state, by implementing the technology and taking reading directly on a daily basis.
The smart meter installation pilot project has required an investment of more than Rs 5 crore ($764,000).
The meters will also lower pollution levers and the state power department is holding talks with a number of foreign companies from countries like Japan, China, Korea, Europe and South Africa on using devices that cause less pollution in the power sector.