India’s Bescom plans smart grid pilot – for third time

smart grid pilot
Indian electricity distributor Bescom has kickstarted its third smart grid pilot incorporating rural and urban consumers following the failure of two previous pilots

In India, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) has embarked on a smart grid pilot project to study the possibilities of smart grid technology at a larger scale.

According to a local publication, the pilot in Chandapura, a suburb in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka, is set to benefit 2,000 urban and rural consumers as part of the utility’s ongoing efforts to reduce electricity consumption and transmission losses.

The development follows Bescom’s previous failure to implement two smart grid pilot projects, which targeted urban consumers due to a lack of adequate planning from a US-based agency KEMA and USAID, Bescom managing director Pankaj Kumar Pandey told the The India Times.

Bescom engages stakeholders

Commenting on the MoU signed for the implementation of the project, research scientist at the Center for Study of Science, Technology & Policy (CSTEP) in India, Sandhya Sundararaghavan said the integration of urban, rural and commercial consumers in the pilot will help to gauge the requirements of the consumers much more efficiently compared to previous projects.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will provide Rs20 million (US$307,000) for the project being taken up in association with the Indian Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University and the CSTEP, Metering and Smart Energy International has learnt.

Furthermore to providing better load management of power, the project is expected to facilitate effective online recording and monitoring of energy as well as better control of the energy exchanges in the distribution system to reduce operational errors.

Bescom’s Mr Pandey said the implementation of smart meters will offer the utility unprecedented real-time view of consumption of power, enabling peak load and outage management that will in turn help to reduce distribution losses and theft, thus making the system more efficient and reliable.

The utility distributes power in eight districts of Karnataka covering 41,092 square kilometres with a population of over 207,000 consumers.

Smart grids in Asia

In other smart grid news coming out of Asia, the chairman of Pakistan-based insurance firm United International Group has called for Pakistan utilities to adopt to smart meters to reduce load shedding, operational expenses and enhance revenue collection.

According to local press Pakistan Today, Mian Shahid last week said by implementing smart meters in water, gas and electricity grid systems, utilities will ensure adequate billing to consumers and curb non-revenues resulting in savings of up to Rs4 trillion (US$ 616.4 billion) per annum.

The call comes as Pakistan is losing around Rs360 billion (US$554.9 million) to electricity theft annually, while gas losses total Rs40 billion (US$616.6 million) and water is equally worth billion is wasted, reported Pakistan Today.

Mr Shahid said: “Smart meters have helped cut water losses by half from 700 million litres per day to 350 million litres in Mumbai and the same can be done in Karachi.”