Why bother to change to electronic meters, asks Manivannan
“If the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) allows us to seek a Rs. 1,000 crore loan, we will implement the smart meter project,” said P. Manivannan, managing director, Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom).
Making a case for the utility’s ambitious project, implemented on a pilot basis in Girinagar 10 months ago, Mr. Manivannan said smart meters were “game changers” as they would empower both the consumer and Bescom.
Delivering a talk on the subject at the event organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI), he hinted at the futility of the ongoing process of changing mechanical meters to electronic ones, as smart meters could be replacing them in the near future. “Bescom spends nearly Rs. 50 crore on changing meters every year. Roughly 50 per cent of consumers (out of the 76 lakh meters) have mechanical ones being used for 40 years. To replace these with electronic will take at least two years. But while this is happening, smart meters will come in,” he explained.
Arguing in favour of smart meters, he said they would come in handy for accurate measurement of power and control of leakage. “Almost 6 per cent of loss of power is unaccounted for, which translates to Rs. 600 crore losses to Bescom every year. For every 1 per cent error in (meter) reading, we lose Rs. 100 crore. Ironically, Bescom takes approximately Rs. 600-crore worth loan for new projects.”
However, he clarified, there was no immediate probability of making smart meters mandatory.