Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a PSU under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, is the designated agency to implement the smart metering programme in India. Under this programme, a total no. of 12,06,435 smart meters have been installed till date, to enhance consumer convenience and rationalise electricity consumption. EESL has enabled DISCOMs in generating around 95% of billing efficiency by using smart meters amid this lockdown and 15-20% average increase in monthly revenue per consumer. States like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, NDMC New Delhi and Bihar have installed around 9.84 lakhs, 1.23 lakh, 57 thousand and 28 thousand smart meters respectively. The DISCOMs in these states, with the help of smart meters, have been able to handle their operations smoothly in the time of crisis.
EESL is also implementing smart prepaid meters under its smart metering programme. Smart Meters deployed by EESL has capability to switch to Prepaid mode with remote button click from IT system. Wherein the general populace has to adhere to the social distancing norms by the government, electricity distribution companies have not been able to physically collect electricity bills from consumers, leading to dip in the cash flow. However, few DISCOMs are enjoying the perks of using the prepaids smart meters. Bihar is the first state in India to use about 25,000 Smart prepaid meters. The consumers on an average are recharging their prepaid smart meters with credit balance of INR 20 on a daily basis. This has resulted in significant benefit of revenue to the state DISCOMs, while other DISCOMs with conventional meters have not even been able to generate the bills.
Emphasising the benefits of smart meters for the consumers, Shri Saurabh Kumar, MD, EESL said, “Smart meters have been indispensable during the current situation, helping DISCOMs function smoothly, thanks to their ability to remotely monitor and collect meter readings. They are the foundation stone of building the power sector of the future. AMI is a significant step towards enabling power sector reforms in India, while enhancing consumer convenience, satisfaction and rationalisation of electricity consumption at the same time. Smart meters help DISCOMs reduce AT&C losses, improve their financial health, incentivise energy conservation, enhance ease of bill payments and ensure billing accuracy by getting rid of manual errors in meter reading. In addition to this, consumers get the ability to track their usage and pay their bills easily through mobile phone. It enhances consumer satisfaction through better complaint management, system stability, reliability and transparency.”
Smart meters are part of the overall Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solution that measures and records consumers’ electricity use at different times of the day and sends this information to the energy supplier through GPRS technology. This gives consumers better access to information and allows them to make more informed decisions on the use of electricity in their homes, leading to reduced power wastage, and long-term carbon and financial savings. It also improves the DISCOM’s operational performance by increasing billing efficiency, reducing O&M cost and enhancing the quality of service by providing consumers with Demand Side Management (DSM) options.
Additionally, smart meters have benefits such as the ability to remote connect/disconnect as per the state utility guidelines and allowing consumers to digitally pay the bills, also helped maintain business continuity and continued unhindered operations.
The Smart Meters programme is also an unprecedented step towards delivering digital literacy and services under the Digital India programme of the Government of India. This programme is playing an important role in empowering citizens by bringing in transparency and accountability in electricity consumption and billing.