Installation of smart energy meters to begin from Lucknow, Varanasi

The much awaited installation of next generation smart energy meters will begin from Lucknow and Varanasi very shortly, marking the rollout of the project aimed at checking power theft in cities.

lucknow Updated: Feb 05, 2018 15:12 IST
Brajendra K Parashar
Brajendra K Parashar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
UP Power Corporation Ltd,Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana,UDAY
The UPPCL is expected to float more tenders to purchase smart meters to meet the requirement.(Bloomberg)

The much awaited installation of next generation smart energy meters will begin from Lucknow and Varanasi very shortly, marking the rollout of the project aimed at checking power theft in cities.

The UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) has informed the Centre about the proposed launch of the project. The corporation has said it has already purchased 40 lakh smart meters, according to the minutes of the meeting held by the union power ministry with states to review the progress of the Ujjwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) last month.

The UP authorities also told the Centre the meters were procured on OPEX (operating expenses) model through the tendering process conducted by the EESL, a Central government organisation.

Under the OPEX model, no upfront cost needs to be paid to the supplier by discoms. The payment is to be made on satisfactory installation of all the meters.

“Installation of smart meters will start from Lucknow and Varanasi on an immediate basis,” the UPPCL said at the meeting, the minutes of which were received here a few days ago.

“Of 60 lakh consumers in these two cities, 40 lakh meters will be replaced with smart meters,” it said.

A senior UPPCL official said the preparations were made to start installing smart meters any day this month. “The work may begin any day,” he said.

Smart meters are hi-tech energy meters that help the service provider keep track of the consumers’ energy consumption pattern remotely, reducing the possibility of pilferage by consumers.

Apart from Lucknow and Varanasi, the UPPCL has identified around a dozen more cities for installation of such meters in power theft-prone areas. These cities include Kanpur, Meerut, Gorakhpur, Aligarh, Saharanpur Mathura, Bareilly, Jhansi and Faizabad.

The UPPCL is expected to float more tenders to purchase smart meters to meet the requirement.

Officials of the union power ministry stressed the need for installation of smart meters in all the states. They also said performance with regard to distribution transformer metering in cities and feeder separation in villages needed to improve. These two mechanisms also aim at checking power theft and reducing line losses.

“Only 47% of the distribution transformer metering and 13% feeder segregation targets for the year 2017-18 had been achieved till September 2017 averaging all the UDAY states,” it was said. UP, according to sources, was far behind the target.

It was also found that in UP like in many other states, the gap between average cost of supply (ACS) and average revenue realization (ARR) had increased. In UP, it went up to Rs 0.41 per unit in 2016-17 and Rs 0.86 per unit in 2017-18.

Secretary, power, AK Bhalla directed all the states to improve. “There a need for greater efforts to further reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses and ACS-ARR gap as UDAY is almost halfway through implementation,” he cautioned.

UDAY is a financial package that the Narendra Modi government had announced in 2014-15, taking over discoms’ debts against certain conditions with a view to achieving their financial turnaround. At that time, UP’s discoms alone had debts of more than Rs 50,000 crore.

First Published: Feb 05, 2018 15:12 IST