In a major technological advancement, the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) is set to introduce prepaid smart electricity meters in Nagpur starting from March. This initiative falls under the Central Government’s Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) and is a component of the nationwide ‘Smart Meter National Programme’.
An MSEDCL official has disclosed that a private firm has initiated a survey to facilitate the installation of smart meters in Nagpur. The installation process is currently underway at crucial locations such as sub-stations, feeders, and crossover points in the city, with almost half of the work already completed. As per the official, residential consumers in Nagpur can anticipate receiving these smart meters starting in March. The ambitious project aims to deploy over 57 lakh smart prepaid meters in the Nagpur region alone. These meters are programmed to automatically disconnect power supply upon depletion of the recharge amount, promoting efficient energy consumption.
Under the RDSS, the Central Government has allocated a substantial budget of Rs 15,000 crore for the rollout of smart meters in Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad, and the Konkan region serviced by MSEDCL. Tenders were issued to appoint Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) service providers for the project. The official explained a phased implementation approach, stating, “In the initial phase this year, smart and prepaid meters will be installed for customers experiencing more than 15 percent technical and commercial losses. In the second phase, smart meters will be installed in the areas where power losses are below 15 percent.” Highlighting the benefits of smart meters, the official asserted that these devices would be synchronized with a mobile application, allowing users to monitor their power consumption online.
The automated disconnection feature, activated upon depletion of the recharge amount, is expected to reduce outstanding power bills and deter instances of power theft, thereby enhancing revenue collection. “This technology isn’t entirely new. Smart meters are already operational in various foreign countries. We believe this will streamline the entire process, enhance transparency for 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 smart meter installation. The Adani Group secured two contracts, NCC Limited secured two, while Montecarlo Limited and Genus Power Infrastructures Limited each secured one contract.