The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a major boost to digitalisation across sectors, including power distribution. Tata Power-Delhi Distribution Ltd (DDL), a leading power utility supplying electricity to a populace of 7 million in Delhi with a registered customer base of 1.7 million, has so far installed 200,000 smart meters in the national capital.
The smart meters have helped the company in raising over 350,000 bills based on actual readings instead of provisional during the lockdown period in the months of April and May and prevented over 150,000 visits per month to consumer premises.
Ganesh Srinivasan, CEO, Tata Power-DDL said, “Installation of smart meters is proving to be of great help during the ongoing pandemic as it provides a win-win platform for both the utility and the consumers through very tangible benefits such as remote meter reading, improving billing and collection efficiency, curbing power theft, reducing AT&C losses, incentivising energy conservation and facilitating easy bill payments.”
These meters for domestic, industrial and commercial consumers were installed under the company’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project with radiofrequency canopy network as per the approval granted by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC).
Tata Power-DDL is working in partnership with Landis+Gyr, a global leader in smart metering and smart grid solutions, and Siemens, the global leader in the area of power generation, transmission and distribution, on this initiative.
With the introduction of smart meters, different consumer segments are now monitoring their maximum demand indicator (MDI) and power factor (PF) through the ‘TPDDL Connect Mobile App’ on an almost real-time basis (at a gap of four hours) and maintaining them in an efficient way, while saving on fixed and energy charges. Close monitoring of MDI is also enabling savings of up to 30 per cent on load violation charges beyond the sanctioned load.
In the near future, the company also has plans to offer customised alerts to consumers via SMS on MDI and PF variations so that they can maintain them on an almost real-time basis against the current delay of up to 30 days (billing period) to reduce the energy charges.
Benefits for consumers include the availability of detailed information about their usage and consumption patterns, seamless and error-free online billing, avoidance of manual reading during the ongoing pandemic, enabling of two-way communication between the meter and the central system over the free band RF network for accurate reading of electricity consumption and faster detection of outage and restoration of service by sending information about the outage to the utility.
The company gains in terms of accurate billing, prediction of demand, enhancement of operational efficiency and fraud prevention, and other losses.
Tata Power-DDL’s smart metering drive is in sync with the Ministry of Power’s vision of replacing existing 250 million meters with smart meters across states and union territories. Tata Power-DDL is also working with more than 20 state distribution companies towards the vision of making them smart, resilient and financially viable through technology-driven initiatives.