Government Plans to Make All Electricity Meters in India Smart Prepaid in Three Years

Program to kickstart from April 1, 2019


Starting from April, 2019, the government has planned to replace all existing electricity meters in the country with smart prepaid meters. The process of switching over is expected to take nearly three years.

This initiative by the Ministry of Power (MoP) is expected to reduce the aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses, improve the financial health of distribution companies, incentivize energy conservation, and make bill payments hassle free and environmentally friendly by doing away with the paper copies.

This move is also likely to help low income consumers as they would not need to pay the entire month’s bill at a time.

Many state governments have begun installing smart meters under the NDA government’s Smart Cities Mission. This program aims at urban renewal with the mission to develop 100 cities across the country that are energy efficient, citizen friendly, and sustainable.

For instance, recently, the Uttar Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) approved a petition filed by Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (UPPCL) regarding the rollout of smart meters in the state. The UPPCL is targeting 4 million consumers across five distribution companies (DISCOMs). In Phase-I, smart meters will be installed in towns with high energy input >500 million units (MUs) and high AT&C losses. In Phase-II, towns with energy input >=250 MU will be benefited and in Phase-III, towns with energy input >=150 MU and <250 MU will be benefited.

In October 2018, Indore Smart City Development Limited had issued a tender for 30,000 smart meters to be installed under Indore Smart City project.

Then in August 2018, the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of the public-sector units of the Ministry of Power and the Government of India, entered two memoranda of understanding (MoU) with North Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (NBPDCL) and South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited (SBPDCL) to deploy smart meters in 130 towns and adjacent rural areas covering approximately 1.8 million customers in the state.

Back in March 2018, EESL issued a tender to procure 5 million smart electricity meters. The meters would be deployed across India.

Recently, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) successfully completed the pilot phase of its satellite-based smart meter project in a village in Varanasi in which 5,000 households received the meters.

Nitin is a staff reporter at and writes on renewable energy and related sectors. Prior to Mercom, Nitin has worked for CNN IBN, India News, Agricultural Spectrum and Bureaucracy Today. He received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication from Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University and Master’s degree in International Relations from Jindal School of International Affairs. More articles from Nitin Kabeer