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  • Context (IE): Kerala’s move towards an alternate model for the rollout of smart electricity meters, may hamper the Centre’s Rs 3 lakh crore smart meters project.

Smart Meter National Programme

  • The Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP), launched by the Government of India in 2017, aims to replace 250 million conventional meters with smart meters by 2022.
  • Implemented by: Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a JV of PSUs under the Ministry of Power.
  • The Programme is implemented under Design-Build-Finance-Own-Operate-Transfer (DBFOOT) model by private operators across states through totex (capex plus opex) contracts, which offer a part of the meter cost in the form of upfront payment while the rest is to be amortised in the monthly bills.

Smart Meters

  • Smart meters are a new generation of energy meters that allow one to learn about their consumption pattern and help utilities conduct system monitoring and customer billing without manual intervention.
  • Smart meters transmit information about power consumption every 15 minutes or hourly to utility providers.
  • Since they are connected to the internet, smart meters can communicate information about usage to the consumer and also to the utility provider for monitoring purposes and accurate billing.
  • Currently, traditional meters require manual inspection every month to generate bills for consumers.
  • Their aim has been to improve the effectiveness of the Time of Day (ToD) pricing of electricity, for which smart meters are essential.
    • ToD pricing essentially refers to differential electricity pricing at the consumer end across peak and non-peak hours.
  • Smart metering is being driven primarily by the desire to lower distribution losses, and accordingly, smart meters incorporate remote disconnection features.

Smart meters - PMF IAS

Benefits of Smart Meters

Smart Meters - PMF IAS

  • Energy Efficient: By keeping regular tabs on how much energy you’re consuming; you will be encouraged to adjust your electricity usage and save money as well as resources.
  • User-friendly: Prepaid smart meters send alerts of low balance in the account so that users can recharge well in advance and avoid any last-minute hassles.
  • Operational Efficiency: The existing manual system for collecting revenue for power usage is not only inefficient but also causes huge losses to power distribution companies.
    • Highly accurate prepaid smart meters would significantly reduce these losses and help utilities improve the power supply.
  • Green Energy: By taking a step closer towards a smart energy system, prepaid smart meters reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, thereby reducing our country’s carbon footprint.
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