State-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has entered into agreements with two Bihar utilities for installation of 23.4 lakh smart prepaid meters in Bihar. 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, EESL said in a statement.
"EESL... signed agreements with South Bihar Power Distribution Company Ltd (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," it said.
The agreements were signed in the presence of Bihar Energy Minister 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 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, the statement said.
"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," Saurabh Kumar, Executive Vice Chairperson, EESL, said.
The smart prepaid meters are connected through a web-based monitoring system, which will help reduce commercial losses of utilities, enhance revenues and serve as an important tool in power sector reforms.
EESL's smart metering initiative is revamping the current manual system of revenue collection, which 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 distribution companies (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 of Rs 5,00,000, 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 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, and a sharp reduction in carbon footprint.
The Smart Meter National Programme aims to replace 25 crore conventional meters with smart meters in India.
Under this programme, EESL and Intellismart have installed over 16 lakh smart meters in the country.
A joint venture of NTPC, Power Finance Corporation, REC and Power Grid Corporation of India, EESL was set up under the Ministry of Power to facilitate implementation of energy efficiency projects.