India one step closer to 2019 digitisation goal


India has taken a major step forward in its plan to digitise its power distribution system by March 2019, a vital step to ensure distribution companies remain financially viable.

Roll out of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Solutions has begun in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, with a roll out of 5 million smart electricity meters with GPRS based communication modules. This will allow for the current DISCOM systems to be upgraded through cloud-based deployment (allowing real-time monitoring) and the use of high-end analytics.

The competitive bid for this leg of the meter roll out was won by L&T Construction of Larsen & Toubro (an Indian projects and services conglomerate). L&T will be installing the 5 million meters across 16 cities within the two provinces, the largest  single roll out of its kind and the first of many steps on India’s path to digitisation.

This digitisation plan, initiated by UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana scheme) will see 250 million of India’s conventional meters converted to smart meters, aiming to significantly reduce revenue losses caused by ineffective billing systems and legacy technology, no longer serving the needs of utilities and customers. These meters will also allow payment flexibility for lower income households, while minimising loss due to corruption and human error.

According to Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, RK Singh, the plan will see all large power users and smaller consumers fitted with smart meters and prepaid meters respectively. “…to achieve 100 percent metering of all households in the country. Of these, 90 percent will be prepaid smart meters. Payment of power supply will be through mobile technology”, said the Minister.

Setting up smart meters is one of the functions of the Ministry together with the UDAY scheme and Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the body responsible for floating a number of bids to launch the Smart Meter National Programme. The bidding process will be divided into two parts, meter procurement and system integration. Now that L & T Construction has won the bid to supply the meters for Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, the next step is to prepare dashboards, connectivity and data storage to allow for seamless integration.