By Dheeraj Fartode
In a major technological leap, Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) is set to introduce prepaid smart electricity meters in Nagpur starting from March. The initiative is part of the Central Government’s Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) and falls under the broader ‘Smart Meter National Programme’ across the country. An official from MSEDCL revealed that a private firm had already initiated a survey to pave the way for the installation of these smart meters in Nagpur. As of now, the installation process is underway at key locations such as sub-stations, feeders, and crossover points in the city, with nearly 50% of the work already completed. Domestic consumers in Nagpur can expect to receive these smart meters from March onwards, he said. The ambitious project aims at installing more than 57 lakh smart prepaid meters in the Nagpur region alone. The meters are designed to automatically cut off power supply once the recharge amount is depleted, which will ensure efficient energy consumption.
Under the RDSS, the Central Government has allocated a substantial budget of Rs 15,000 crore for the implementation of smart meters in Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad, and the Konkan region of MSEDCL. Tenders were floated to appoint Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) service providers for the project. The official explained the phased approach to implementation, stating, “In the first phase of the scheme this year, smart and prepaid meters will be installed for customers with more than 15 per cent technical and commercial losses. In the second phase, smart meters will be installed in the areas where power losses are less than 15 per cent.” Highlighting the benefits of the smart meters, the official claimed that these devices would be linked to a mobile application, which will enable users to monitor their power consumption online.
The automated disconnection feature, after the recharge amount is exhausted, is expected to reduce pending power bills and deter power theft which would contribute to better revenue collection. “This technology is not entirely new. Smart meters are already in use in foreign countries. We believe this will streamline the entire process, provide transparency to consumers, and contribute to the overall improvement of the power distribution system,” the official added. In September 2023, MSEDCL awarded a total of six tenders for the installation of smart meters. The Adani Group secured two contracts, NCC Limited secured two, while Montecarlo Limited and Genus Power Infrastructures Limited each won one contract.