Reliance Industries Ltd has its eyes on smart electricity meter market after signing multi-billion dollar deals for Jio Platforms and Reliance Retails. Through its Jio Platforms business, the company wants to offer meter data, communication cards, telecom and cloud hosting services to power hosting companies, also called discoms.
The company's Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) business plan comes in the wake of the electricity smart metering programme going on in India, which is the largest in the world. Jio Platforms will offer these services via Narrow Band-Internet of Things (NB-IoT), LiveMint reported citing sources.
NarrowBand-Internet of Things (NB-IoT) is a low power wide area (LPWA) technology that connects different types of new IoT devices and services. It helps in improving power consumption, building system capacity and spectrum efficiency.
Jio Platforms, which has developed key next-gen technologies including cloud computing, data analytics, AI and machine learning, among others, will play a key role in capturing the smart metering market for Reliance.
What are smart meters?
Smart meters are part of the overall Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) solution that measure and record consumers' electricity usage at different times of the day and send this information to the energy supplier through over-the-air communication technology. This gives consumers better access to information and enables them to make more informed decisions on the use of electricity in their homes, leading to reduced power wastage, and providing long-term carbon and financial savings.
The smart metering system needs a two-way communication network and software to share, control centre equipment and software to gather data in real-time. The energy is transferred to users on the basis of this smart system.
The Centre's Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) aims to improve the discoms' overall financial health along with the implementation of 10 per cent of the country's total smart metering requirement.
However, as on July 17, UDAY has only achieved 6 per cent of the targeted smart meters for connections above 500 kWh and 7 per cent of the target for connections between 200-500 kWh.
Crisil Ratings in an August report had said that smart metering will help empower discoms by improving billing efficiencies and reducing leakages. It added that the scale of financial investment required is a major roadblock in its path.
India's traditional power metering system is inadequate, resulting in MBC (metering, billing and collection) inefficiencies, high commercial losses and revenue leakages), it added.