Barring farmers, all in Uttar Pradesh to have smart prepaid meters in next 3 years
Barring farmers, all other electricity consumers in Uttar Pradesh, like in most other states, will necessarily have prepaid smart meters on their premises in next two-three years with the facility of recharging these meters through a mobile phone under the Centre’s new Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme.
The Union power ministry has issued the office memorandum to states, explaining the scheme to them in detail and informing them of the terms and conditions required to avail the new initiative having a budgetary outlay of ₹3,03,758 crore.
“President’s sanction is conveyed for the implementation of the “Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme—A Reforms-based and Results-linked Scheme” with the objective of improving the quality and reliability of power supply to consumers through a financially sustainable and operationally-efficient distribution sector,” says the Office Memorandum received here by the chief secretary and the UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) chairman offices, among others.
The scheme aims to reduce the AT&C losses to pan-India levels of 12-15% and average cost of supply (ACS)-average revenue realization (ARR) gap to zero by 2024-25.
In order to attain the key objective of loss reduction in electricity distribution for installation of prepaid smart meters in the mission mode in the first phase in (i) all electricity divisions of AMRUT cities with AT&C losses above 15% (ii) all Union Territories (iii) MSMEs and all other industrial and commercial consumers (iv) all government offices at Block level and above (v) other areas with high losses.
“Prepaid smart metering system with communion features are important interventions in reducing distribution losses in the utilities and automatic measurement of energy flows and energy accounting as well as auditing without any human intervention,” Union power secretary Alok Kumar said over phone.
States, according to him, and as also given in the Office Memorandum, would be incentivized for deployment of prepaid smart meters by December, 2023 at the rate of 7.5% of the cost per consumer meter worked out for the whole project or ₹450 per consumer meter, whichever lower, would be provided to states for installing meters within the targeted timeline in a mission mode.
Moreover, these prepaid smart meters remain connected with advanced information and communication technology (ICT) like artificial intelligence, machine learning and block chain technology making it possible for discom to analyse data scientifically every month and take informed decision on loss reduction, demand forecast etc.
The scheme, however, exempts farmers from the requirement of installing prepaid smart meters on electricity connections of their tubewells/pumping sets.
“Looking at the scattered nature of agriculture connections and their remoteness from the habitations as well as their proposed solarisation, the smart meters need not be installed on agriculture connections,” clarifies the Office Memorandum.
To avail funding under the scheme, discoms are required to prepare an action plan for strengthening their distribution system and improving its performance by way of various reform measures that also include segregation of agriculture feeders for which alone ₹20,000 crore have been earmarked under the scheme.