Smart Prepaid Meters Enable Discoms Generate 95% Billing Efficiency amid Lockdown

Smart Prepaid Meters Enable Discoms Generate 95% Billing Efficiency amid Lockdown

Despite lockdown imposed across the country due to coronavirus crisis, the use of smart prepaid meters is helping power distribution companies (Discoms) in generating around 95 percent of billing efficiency, along with an average 15-20 percent increase in monthly revenue per consumer.

Era of Smart Meters

This is significant as most of the Discoms amidst lockdown in the country are facing non-payment of dues from their customers, mostly where meter reading for billing purpose done manually. Currently, many Discoms are dealing with severe outstanding payments to power generating companies (Gencos).

Government-backed Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is the designated agency to implement the smart metering programme on pan India.

With an aim to enhance consumer convenience and rationalise electricity consumption, to date, an aggregate of 12,06,435 smart meters has been installed under this programme by EESL. Also, 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.

Now with the help of smart meters, Discoms in these states have been able to handle their operations smoothly in the time of crisis. In Bihar itself, these smart prepaid meters have enabled Discoms in generating daily revenue of Rs 5 lakh during the lockdown.

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 send this information to the energy supplier through GPRS technology.

Speaking on the importance of smart meters amidst lockdown, Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director of EESL, said that “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 for building the power sector of the future.”

He further added that “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.”

Recently, the company, which a PSU under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, completed 10 years of scaling up energy efficiency programmes in India and globally and sets the target to become Rs 10,000-crore company in next three years.

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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.