Smart meters have been making headlines in recent times. In this episode of the State of the Economy Podcast, Girishkumar Kadam, Senior Vice President and Group Head of Corporate Sector Ratings, ICRA, sheds light on the status and significance of the smart meter installation project in India’s power sector.  

The podcast emphasises the crucial role of smart meters in minimising billing and collection inefficiencies, reducing aggregate technical and commercial losses, and enhancing grid operations. He highlights the target of installing 25 crore smart meters by 2025 and the potential benefits for demand forecasting and overall power sector efficiency. 

Addressing the financial challenges faced by distribution utilities, Girish explains how smart meters can contribute to lowering losses, improving cash collections, and ultimately enhancing their financial health. He emphasises the importance of a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model, where the installation is carried out by third-party service providers with no upfront cost for utilities. 

The discussion also explains the slow progress of smart meter installation, attributing it to challenges such as state-specific variations, inadequate proactive support from state governments, and issues related to integrating smart metering infrastructure with legacy billing systems. 

He anticipates a positive outlook for the future, expecting the pace of smart meter installations to gradually increase over the next two to four years. The podcast raises the need for continued budgetary support, grants, and proactive efforts from both central and state governments to ensure the success of the smart metering initiative and address financial concerns in the power distribution sector. 

 ( Host: Rishi Ranjan Kala, Producers: Anjana PV & Siddharth Mathew Cherian)

About the State of the Economy Podcast

India’s economy has been hailed as a bright spot amid the general gloom that seems to have enveloped the rest of the world. But several sectors continue to stutter even as others seem set to fire on all cylinders. To help you make sense of the bundle of contradictions that the country is, businessline brings you podcasts with experts ranging from finance and marketing to technology and start-ups