Public utility meters at your house will soon get smart. The Centre has loosened its grip on the 433-434MHz frequency band that lets water, power and piped gas companies in India go big on smart meters which can wirelessly and accurately transfer meter-readings to the public utility companies.
Once smart meters are installed, meter-readers will not have to enter your house to take readings. They can be a few hundred metres away with their hand-held devices. They wirelessly link up to smart meters in 250 houses simultaneously and get all readings in less than a minute.
The government's order to exempt the frequency band from licensing was issued at the request of companies supplying piped gas and water in Mumbai and Delhi. Indraprastha Gas Limited has 3.5 lakh piped gas subscribers in Delhi. It had kicked of a pilot project to install smart meters in 2010 but the licensing regime dissuaded it from considering a roll-out.
Delhi's power regulator too is toying with the idea of introducing smart meters in the city. So is the Delhi Jal Board."This move must be welcomed," Pranesh Prakash at Centre for Internet and Society - an advocacy group that had been pitching for de-licensing spectrum - said. "Unlicenced spectrum is a valuable public resource, the use of which can have a great social impact."