The project includes the installation of some 34,000 smart electric meters in the Boulevard region in Puducherry City.
According to the Hindu Times, the Chinese firm Dongfang Electronics will fund 50% of the project’s total cost of Rs46.1 crore ($5.9m). The deployment of the smart meters will be extended to the remaining areas of the city in phases.
The agreement follows multiple failures by the Indian Ministry of Power, the Puducherry power department and the Power Grid Corporation of India to fund the project’s mass deployment since inception in 2013.
[quote] The parties managed to install 1,400 electric meters under a pilot to trial the operations of the smart metering system in Puducherry in 2013. Following the pilot, 87,000 units were scheduled for deployment, however, no smart meters were rolled out as planned. [India – Puducherry smart grid pilot to be expanded to 87,000 meters].
The delays in the full implementation of the project, due to lack of financial resources, has led to the Indian government placing the project under the investors model whose tender is being awarded to Dong Fang.
Smart electric meters funding
In late January, French development finance agency Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) signed draft agreements for the development of smart cities in Indian union territories of Puducherry, Chandigarh and Nagpur.
The draft agreements were signed by the AFD in the presence of French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chandigarh.
Through the MoU, the AFD is providing 2 billion euros over the next three years in technical assistance. [Smart meters India: ISGF backs leasing model].
Puducherry will draw on public sector expertise from French municipalities, local public companies, agencies for urban planning, as well as input from the private sector in the urban planning, transport, water and waste management, architecture and heritage, and energy sectors.
The agreement is part of an Indo-French bilateral cooperation agreement on sustainable urban development established in October 2012.