Energy metering project launched in India


Phumudzo Magidi,
Managing Director,
Pretoria, South Africa and New Delhi, India — (METERING.COM) — May 29, 2008 – Saab Grintek’s integrated energy supply subsidiary, Grinpal Energy Management, has started with the installation of the first smart meters in New Delhi, India. The first project began in Tata, where the company is targeting 500 000 installations by 2010. The company said the reason it took almost two years to begin meter installations is that they had to familiarize the Indian distributors with the PLC AMR/prepaid system.

"Negotiations started in 2005, and the agreement was signed in November 2006, with the final contract agreed upon in December 2007,” said Phumudzo Magidi, MD of Grinpal, a 50:50 joint venture between Saab Grintek and Palace Engineering. "The Indian government needed clarity on the prepaid system because India uses the post-paid meter system; Grinpal had to introduce the system from the beginning and also prove that the system will enable India to manage its energy wisely."

Grinpal will supply India with the intellectual skills necessary for the project, while Indian company EMCO takes care of the installations. The new system will display the amount of energy being used in every household across the country. Defaulters can be disconnected and reconnected remotely. The system is smart enough to detect tampering in real time, sending an alarm to the revenue protection team. The utility can also decide to change a customer from post-paid to prepaid in a matter of seconds, without any physical change to the meter.

The system comes with two options of managing load: it can switch off geysers either individually, in groups; or all geysers; and it can limit consumers’ load per individual, group or every consumer.

In order to protect consumers from missing their payment due date, the system sends a text message to either the user’s cell phone or to the in-house display, which has a built-in buzzer that switches on to notify the user when there is a message from the utility. The display is also used to warn consumers if there is going to be load shedding or a planned outage.

"We are looking at having a long term relationship with India and other parts of the world because we believe that this system will help curb the energy crisis that is currently being faced by a lot of countries," concluded Magidi.