The long-pending demand of electricity consumers to revert to the monthly billing cycle for domestic category may be conceded once the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company (Tangedco) executes the project of installing “smart meters”
Indicating this, a senior official of the power utility said the main constraint in going back to the old system of monthly billing was the inadequate number of assessors. Once the “smart meters” are installed, the assessment of consumption of domestic consumers becomes possible even monthly as the readings can be done remotely by the utility at its designated points on account of two-way communication flow. The need for physical reading of the meters will be done away with, the official explains.
According to Tangedco’s tariff petition filed with the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission, the utility is carrying out the project of installing 1.41 lakh postpaid “smart meters” in T. Nagar, Chennai, since January 2021 by adopting radio frequency (RF) technology. The area has been chosen in view of the consumer density. As of now, nearly 82,300 such meters have been installed. The equipment has a provision for prepaid arrangement.
The Corporation has proposed to install around 1.66 crore “smart meters” for all categories of low-tension consumers except agriculture and hut services. This will be carried out as part of the Centre’s Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS). Once the State Cabinet clears the proposal, this will be sent to the Union Ministry of Power for sanction of the proposed extension of the project.
To a question whether the existing set of meters, installed for the domestic consumers, can be used as automated meters by inserting SIM cards and entering into a tie-up with mobile phone operators for data generation and transmission, the official responds that although it was possible for such conversion, such an option had been found to be costlier than the installation of “smart meters.” Moreover, the Central government prefers the “smart meters” to any other course of action, the official adds.