In Pakistan, the electric distribution company for the capital Islamabad will kick start a three-year smart meter rollout by the middle of the year in a bid to improve accurate customer billing.
Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) confirmed at the weekend that the Asian Development Bank-funded deployment would start in the next three months, reports news agency Associated Press of Pakistan.
Malik Muhammad Yousaf Awan, chief executive officer at IESCO said both IESCO and Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) will be involved in the US$177 million (Pakistani Rupees 18 billion) grid modernization project.
The CEO said that the utilities would install meters in residential properties and grid stations, and confirmed the pair had received 40,000 meters of the 150,000 units procured.
Mr Malik Yousaf told the news agency that the advanced metering would be used to combat overbilling and complaints about inaccurate meter reading.
Improving utility customer service
IESCO, which has 23 million customers of which 18 million are residential, is also using funding to improve customer service.
The utility plans to launch a customer relationship management system to allow consumers to lodge complaints using SMS about overbilling or load-shedding.
IESCO also plans to send out bills including pictures taken by meter readers of meter dials by SMS.
The new system will start off in Islamabad and Rawalpindi before being rolled out across the rest of the utilities service area.
Islamabad grid modernization
Yousaf Awan confirmed that part of the ADB loan had gone towards developing three new grid stations, while the utility had upgraded 66 KV and 33 KV grids to 132 KV to address low-voltage issue.
He said that sufficient transformers of 100 KV and 200 KV were in stock and order for more transformers were placed for procurement.
IESCO adds around 150,000 new connections to its service area every year with around 44,681 new connections given in the past seven months of 2014 fiscal year.
Smart meters in Pakistan
Smart electricity metering in Pakistan took a leap forward in November 2014 when two Pakistan utilities have started a large-scale smart metering deployment in a bid to cut electricity distribution losses and modernize measurement and billing operations.
Multan Electric Power Company and Peshawar Electric Supply Company will deploy a total of 45, 200 GPRS-enabled smart meters to residential, agricultural, small industrial and public sector consumers.
The AMI installation is believed to be the largest in the South Asian country.