Discoms in Bihar Enjoying Perks of Installing EESL’s Prepaid Smart Meters amid Lockdown

Discoms in Bihar Enjoying Perks of Installing EESL’s Prepaid Smart Meters amid Lockdown

Amidst nationwide lockdown where most of the Discoms are dealing with outstanding dues mainly on account of long-pending bill payments from their customers, some of the power distribution companies (Discoms) in Bihar are earning Rs 5 lakh per day prepaid revenue through EESL-led smart metering programme.

Prepaid Meters

Bihar became the first state in India which has installed aggregate of 28,000 smart meters, and out of them, about 25,000 smart prepaid meters are currently in use.

These prepaid smart meters were installed under the Power Ministry-backed Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), which is the designated agency to implement the smart metering programme in India.

On average, consumers are recharging their prepaid smart meters with a credit balance of Rs 20 per day and resulted in daily recharge revenue of Rs 5 lakh for Discoms.

Under this programme, EESL installed over 12 lakh smart meters so far in India. The use of smart meters enhanced consumer’s convenience and rationalise electricity consumption.

On the other hand, they will also enable Discoms in generating 15-20 percent average increase in monthly revenue per consumer amid the lockdown.

Various features of smart meters include – remotely connect and digital payments, consumers can be given repeated reminder SMS / calls to get their account recharged. They also have the capability to switch to prepaid mode with a remote button click from the IT system.

This helps Discoms in maintaining business continuity during such challenging times of coronavirus while enjoying the perks of using the prepaid smart meters.

As per the case study in Bihar, over 60 percent smart prepaid consumers are recharging their credit balance via mobile application only.

Commenting on the role of smart meters, Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director of EESL, said that, “the current situation has only served to reinforce the efficacy of smart meters, by completely eliminating manual interventions. Smart Metering is poised to be the launchpad for a comprehensive reform of the power sector.”

Kumar further added, “the benefits of smart metering, beginning with a seamless online billing process, real-time tracking of electricity usage, and reduction of billing errors has cascaded down the energy value chain to the consumers as well. Consumers have, for the first time emerged as the focal point in the power sector. The ability to track their usage real-time has translated into energy and capital savings for the consumers, along with access to a new era of the consumer experience. Additionally, the implementation of AMI technology leads to enhancement of operational efficiency of utilities through various factors such as better outage management system, remote meter reading and error-free billing etc.”

This case study of Bihar clearly indicated the importance of speedy implementation of smart prepaid meters programme across the country. This will not only help consumers in paying their bills on time but also help Discoms up to much extent in getting their payments on-time, as it becomes crucial for the entire power sector to solve the long-pending problem of Discoms distress in whichever way possible, keeping in mind long term perspective and not a shorter goal.

Recently, with an aim to provide relief to cash strapped power distribution companies (Discoms), the government has taken a slew of measures to help them, including providing a rebate for the lockdown period amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

"Want to be featured here or have news to share? Write to info[at]saurenergy.com

Manu Tayal

Manu is an Associate Editor at Saur Energy International where she writes and edits clean & green energy news, featured articles and interview industry veterans with a special focus on solar, wind and financial segments.