Smart meters at Rajasthan's discoms: what changes

Smart meter installations have commenced under the Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited smart grid projects in Rajasthan. How will this impact the usage of electricity? Read on to find out.

 

The smart meter installation program is the installation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to optimise and modernise the consumption of electricity. According to Rajasthan Discom Chairman Bhaskar A Sawant, the state requires 11 racks of coal/day. But, there is a supply of only 7.50 racks at present. Hence, smart meters can go a long way in saving energy and cost.


As per the press release, around 3,500 intelligent meters were installed by the end of December 2020, where around 2,500 of them were in the process of getting tested and dispatched by JVVNL for installation. The project showed significant progress after a tripartite agreement (State Discoms, Bidders, and Government of India) was signed on August 18, 2020. Subsequently, the testing of a sample consisting of 10,000 intelligent meters took place at the JVVNL laboratory.


Image credit: Matthew Henry, Unsplash


The Smart Grid project is now set to serve 1.5 lakh consumers across six towns - Bharatpur, Baran, Bundi, Dholpur, Karauli and Jhalawar. The project comes with an estimated cost of Rs 87.43 crore, out of which the Government of India is known to have agreed to contribute Rs 26.23 crore. Recently, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has issued a tender to procure 1,88,000 smart meters for deployment in Amer and Jodhpur, Rajasthan.


But what is a smart meter? And, how does it help to conserve electricity? Let’s find out. 


What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a digital meter that tracks and records the energy consumption of each household. This process helps families make informed choices on their electricity usage. A smart meter involves a two-way communication system between homes and power utilities or companies so that in case there are any electricity outages, the state government can dispatch a crew to fix it. 


The need for smart metering systems

Smart meters come with a slew of benefits like lower electricity bills, more energy savings, and better planning of power generation. Smart meters enable the generation of accurate bills and also help monitor the consumption of electricity every month. In case of overuse, consumers can promptly take steps to cut down usage. Officials from the Electricity Department can be spared from travelling to the location for a manual meter reading. In addition to this, instances of electricity theft can be averted since every unit of energy is monitored in real-time, and it is more convenient to connect/disconnect supply remotely. 


A representational image of a smart meter


Smart meters consist of various components that enable their effective functioning. Let’s find out more.


How does it work? 

A basic smart meter consists of an electronic device with a two-way communication capability. This communication is achieved through two networks: LAN and WAN. The LAN (local area network) connects the meter to the field, while the WAN (wide area network) connects the LAN to the central station. 


A Head End System (HES) collects data from different points and monitors them remotely. Further, there is a software called the meter data management system that stores and analyses data. After analysis, the data is used for customer billing and outage management.


Some crucial functions of a smart meter system are:

  • Remote meter data reading. 

  • Option to opt for both prepaid and postpaid payments. 

  • Customers who generate their own electricity and send it back to the grid will receive energy credits.

  • Alarm and event detection, reporting, and notification.

  • Remote software upgrade.

  • Integration with other existing systems like billing and collection software, call centre, GIS mapping, new connections and disconnections, consumer indexing, analysis software, outage management system, etc.

Smart meters are an effective way to save electricity. Be it for a commercial entity or a personal space; they provide accurate bills. Hence, the Rajasthan government’s smart meter program can be seen as the first step to persuading people to use electricity efficiently. 


 

Edited by Roshni Shroff

 

Some resources to get to know more about smart metering systems:


All you need to know about India’s Rs 3 lakh crore smart meter project


Prepaid smart electric meters: Needless expense or sure shot way to cut power theft ?


Rajasthan ranks 2nd after Karnataka on State Energy Efficiency Index 2020