EESL Ties up with Bihar Utilities to Install 2.34 Mn Smart Prepaid Meters in the State

EESL has signed agreements with two Bihar utilities for the installation of 2.34 million smart prepaid meters in the state, under its Smart Meter National Programme.

Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture under the Ministry of Power, has signed agreements with South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) and North Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd (NBPDCL) for the installation of 2.34 million smart prepaid meters in Bihar, under its Smart Meter National Programme. This is the first time that smart prepaid meters are being installed at this scale, and are set to have a transformative impact on the state’s energy landscape. The agreement was signed in the presence of Energy Minister, Government of Bihar, Bijendra Prasad Yadav.

“The power sector is facing high aggregate technical and commercial losses and implementation of smart prepaid meters can play a crucial role in addressing these challenges in Bihar. I am confident that these meters will be a boon for the state’s energy landscape and will help Discoms in shoring up their finances,” Yadav said.

The objective of this project is to have a sustainable impact on the distribution sector in Bihar. The smart prepaid meters will optimise the Discom operational performance by increasing the billing and collection efficiency, reduce the operation and maintenance cost; and enhance the quality of service, along with providing the consumers with demand-side management (DSM) options.

Saurabh Kumar, Executive Vice Chairperson, EESL, said, “we have been implementing smart prepaid meters across India to enhance consumer convenience and increase Discom revenues. We have made significant progress in this journey in the state of Bihar, which has become the first state in the country to witness smart prepaid meter installation at this scale. Now, with the commercial launch of the smart prepaid system for Bihar utilities, we’re certain that this will help bring a transformation in the entire power sector.”

The smart prepaid meters are connected through a web-based monitoring system, which will help to reduce commercial losses of utilities, enhance revenues and serve as an important tool in power sector reforms. 

The firms’ smart metering initiative is revamping the current manual system of revenue collection, which currently suffers from low billing and poor collection efficiencies. The implementation of these meters will also enable considerable energy and monetary savings for consumers, who will have an avenue to track their power usage in real-time. The prepaid functionality of the smart meters is also an added advantage, as it provides the Discoms with an option to switch to prepaid mode, wherein the consumers pay upfront for the electricity. 

The utility of this feature was quite apparent during the lockdown, as Discoms in Bihar were able to generate a daily revenue collection of Rs 500,000 with consumers on an average recharging their prepaid smart meters with a credit balance of Rs 20 daily. The immediate generation of working capital for the Discoms is also highly advantageous, as the revenue is generated at the point of sale, which otherwise takes a couple of months. Some other key benefits of smart prepaid metering include, a marked reduction in peak power purchase cost, the ability to conduct power quality analysis in near-real time such as power factor, maximum demand, voltage, etc., and a sharp reduction in carbon footprint, chiefly due to the reduced patrolling for meter reading, disconnection /reconnection, outage detection, etc.

The Smart Meter National Programme aims to replace 250 million conventional meters with smart meters in India. Under the smart meter national programme, EESL and Intellismart have installed over 1.6 million smart meters have been installed in the country.

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