Try out indigenously-developed smart energy meters, MeitY urges KSEB

Updated - January 16, 2023 12:44 pm IST

Published - January 14, 2023 10:33 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

As the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) pushes ahead with its roll-out plans for ‘prepaid’ smart meters, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has urged the State-run utility to accommodate smart energy meters developed using home-grown technology in its plans.

In a December 14 letter to the KSEB CMD Rajan Khobragade, MeitY said that the technology for single and three-phase smart energy meters has been developed under the National Mission on Power Electronics Technology (NamPET) executed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). The technology has been transferred to six industries.

MeitY has suggested that indigenously-developed meters constitute 20% of the State’s meter procurement plan to promote the ‘Make in India’ and ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ campaigns.

As the six industries are small-scale in nature, the Ministry has requested waiver/relaxation in the prerequisite criteria as they may be unable to fulfill the full set. Using indigenously-developed technology is important from the point of view of security and in the long run, it said.

While Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and smart meters are vital for next-gen smart grid and utility business, the AMI data also need to be handled ‘‘very carefully in a secure manner,’‘ MeiTY said.

‘‘Nowadays, most of the metering deployments are done with the support of imported technology, which may cause a long-term dependability for the utilities,’‘ the letter written by Sunita Verma, Group Coordinator (R&D in Electronics and IT Group), MeiTy, said.

At an estimated ₹8,174.96 crore, the KSEB is equipping all consumers with smart meters with prepayment mode under the centrally-assisted Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS). The utility has finalised plans to install 37 lakh smart meters in Phase I on Design, Build, Fund, Own, Operate and Transfer (DBFOOT) basis on TOTEX mode.

But the proposal has drawn flak from employees’ organisations in the KSEB which say that the consumers are being dealt a raw deal. The TOTEX model would pave the way for privatisation in power distribution, according to them. They have suggested that the KSEB implement the prepaid meter project directly by employing cost-effective technologies such as the one developed by C-DAC.

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