Digital drive in the power sector could help save ₹10 lakh crore, says IntelliSmart chief

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on January 20, 2021

Anil Rawal, CEO, Intellismart

To set up a digital smart grid, invites RFPs; over 12 states in discussions to digital push

The country’s power sector, which is burdened with losses of about 20-22 per cent in the distribution and transmission, could save back ₹10 lakh crore over the next ten years with a smart digital transformation, according to Anil Rawal, CEO of Intellismart.

Intellismart Infrastructure is a joint venture of Energy Efficiency Services Limited and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, formed to give a fillip to the Government’s vision of a digital push for the power sector decarbonisation.

“The power distribution companies annually account for ₹1 lakh crore to ₹1.25 lakh crore in losses due to transmission and distribution, with losses estimated at about 20-22 per cent of energy generated. We believe that this can be brought down to as low as 5-6 per cent, by taking up demand-side digital transformation by converting 25 crore conventional electricity meters to smart meters over the next few years,” Rawal said.

OPEX model

Rawal told BusinessLine “Discoms face a virtuous cycle where they have to face losses, poor collections and all this resulting in delayed payment of dues to lenders and suppliers of power. And they are not in a position to deploy any new funds into the sector to improve efficiencies. Therefore, EESL/Intellismart have evolved an OPEX model and the Discoms take to pay-as-you-use model from the savings they achieve through the implementation of the smart meters.”

“There is no dearth of funds for the implementation of digital reforms in the electricity sector. Several global funds, multilateral agencies are keen to invest. It is estimated that we will need about ₹1 lakh crore to implement smart meters and of this, about ₹20,000 crore will be equity. There are also a set of established players called Meter Asset Providers, who will back such projects and have been doing it globally,” he said.

“After piloting some projects across different locations, we are in the process of implementing a project that will entail implementation of about 80 lakh (8 million) smart meters across six States and union territories. Of them, we have already deployed over 1.5 million units, and our data shows that we save about ₹2.25 per unit by bundling various electricity consumers, including industrial. And out of the savings, the Discom pays about ₹70 per meter per month. This could go much lower depending on hybrid models,” he said.

“Following the results, and progress we have made, we are in talks with at least 12-15 States to implement this programme. As we go along, we believe there could be more innovation in this sector,” he said.

“As a part of this digital drive, we are setting up a major digital platform. It will be modular and could be easily scaled up as per requirement. The data captured over this platform and analytics shared will help further improve efficiencies. We have called for request for proposal (RfP) for the digital Platform,” he said.

Referring to the Modi Government of having about 40 per cent of the energy coming from renewable energy sources by 2030, as against 15 per cent now, he said “managing the flow of such infirm energy with the grid will also pose big challenges. Factoring all this, the digital platform that we are creating will also help better balance the system.”

IntelliSmart, which is working towards developing a digital smart grid to offer value-added services, has tied up with IT major Infosys to create a digital platform to accelerate the digitalisation and integrate data analytics across the power sector facilitating in greater efficiency.

It plans to partner with Discoms to co-develop advanced analytics solutions on their data, tailored to their context. A set of various advanced analytics will help Discoms build a full suite of tailored solutions over the next 2-3 years. He said this fits nicely into the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programme proposed by the Government.

Published on January 20, 2021

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