Time to focus on smart meters, says Telangana electricity regulator

V Rishi Kumar Hyderabad | Updated on July 13, 2020

Telangana Electricity Regulatory Commission Chairman T Sriranga Rao

The Telangana Electricity Regulatory Commission Chairman T Sriranga Rao is keen that the electricity consumers and the State gradually transition to the smart metering system as part of the overall drive towards providing smart and efficient infrastructure.

Sharing his thoughts on why we need smart meters for today’s smart consumer, he said “Their implementation completes the loop for a smart grid network in a smart city.”

“In 2014, when Telangana was formed, the power situation was in a mess. Consumers had to face innumerable hardships due to power cuts and industries faced power holidays. From such a situation, we are witness to 24x7 power to all consumers in the State, including the farmers,” he said.

“Significantly, in the past five years, the tariff has remained the same and this is no small achievement, for a new State which had so many difficulties,” he told BusinessLine.

Referring to some recent billing issues during the Covid-19 pandemic, he said: “I have had discussions with the discoms, who have assured that committees set up will look into the consumer grievances and address them. All their concerns will be sorted out.”

Meter deployment

According to the Chairman: “The present-day power sector is facing lot of problems like high AT&C losses, age-old infrastructure, power theft, billing irregularities and unpaid bills. And the implementation of the advanced metering infrastructure by deploying smart metering is an important constituent for the smart grid.”

“The State has deployed smart meters in couple of locations and they have shown excellent results. In the past, in some States, overall electricity losses were shown as losses due to the agriculture sector. That is not correct. The smart meter system will address these issues and also help the delivery of subsidies directly to the consumer,” he said.

Referring to the recent proposed amendments to the Electricity Act, he said “the general thinking is that the subsidies should be directly transferred to the consumers. These smart meters can help address this issue as well. The Central Government is also keen on implementation of smart meters.”

Energy consumption

“The smart metering technology has been in use for many years now across many countries, and has been proven to be very effective and reliable at managing electricity consumption. It is high time we move towards deploying these and transform the existing network into a smart one,” he said.

Smart meters can definitely cut the domestic or commercial energy consumption by giving a lot of useful information to the consumer. By closely monitoring the usage pattern, a consumer can control the overall consumption of electricity and thereby help allocate the appropriate budget for the electricity consumption.

About 15-18 per cent of the energy consumed goes unbilled and is treated as part of the overall losses to the huge national electricity system. The Energy Efficiency Services Limited, a nodal agency of the Ministry of Power is also working with several States to encourage the setting up of smart meters.

Published on July 13, 2020

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