Smriti Kak Ramachandran

It will record exact power consumption, generate accurate bills and help plug revenue leaks

NEW DELHI: Meters that will record the exact consumption of electricity, generate accurate bills and help plug revenue leaks for the service provider will soon be installed as part of a pilot project in an area served by power distribution company North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL).

The company has identified the area near Satyawati College for implementation of its pilot project, wherein smart meters will be installed at the premises of about 1,500 consumers. “Smart metering is part of the larger concept of smart grids that the company has been actively pursuing. The proposal of installing smart meters is being worked out, the blueprint is ready but we are yet to firm up the financial aspects of the concept,” said Arunabha Basu, Head (Technology), NDPL.

The concept requires huge investment and the company is in the process of raising money. “The options are being worked out. Investment will be made by the company and we are trying to see if the technology supplier too can offer some funding. The Union Power Ministry has been very encouraging and also agreed in principle to sanction some money under the research and development project head. The Ministry is also looking at the formation of a task force to see how the scheme can be taken further,” said Mr. Basu.

Likely to be implemented by September-October, the pilot project according to NDPL officials will help consumers by giving them an accurate review of their power consumption and also allow the discoms to gauge the consumption patterns in their distribution areas.

Official say that smart metering has several advantages. For one, it records exact consumption and generates accurate bills. There is no manual intervention since the bills are automatically read and all meters are remotely connected. The system also helps reduce manual labour and cuts laborious paper work. For instance, if a consumer has not been paying his bill, the system will automatically detect it and disconnect the supply. Once the dues are cleared, the system will again resume supply, the consumer will not be required to run around and complete tedious paperwork.

“The system is a win-win situation for the discom as well the consumer. The discoms benefit by getting to know the exact consumption patterns. We will also create consumer portals for those households where the smart meters will be installed. These portals will allow consumers to access their consumption details and thereby assess their usage. This in turn will help them save energy and money. In the long run, the process will set pace for smart energy consumption,” explained Mr. Basu.

The company will need permission from the electricity regulator for initiating the pilot project, but the feedback from consumers who will be chosen for implementation of the scheme has been positive.

NDPL has joined the IBM-led global Intelligent Utility Network coalition of a few select global utilities for installation of smart grid technologies. The smart grid technology allows the service provider to gauge the exact demand-supply position, improve power line grid planning, operations and maintenance.