Spot­light

Su­nil Misra, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, IEEMA, speaks about the tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments in the me­ters of to­day, the key chal­lenges fac­ing the me­ter­ing in­dus­try and what the gov­ern­ment needs to do for bet­ter im­ple­men­ta­tion of smart me­ter­ing, in an in­ter­view with

Power Watch India - - CONTENTS -

Su­nil Misra, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral, IEEMA, speaks about tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments in me­ters of to­day, key chal­lenges fac­ing the me­ter­ing in­dus­try and what the govt needs to do for bet­ter im­ple­men­ta­tion of smart me­ter­ing, in an in­ter­view.

How do you see the growth po­ten­tial of smart me­ters in the wake of gov­ern­ment’s am­bi­tious pro­grammes like Smart Grids, Smart Cities, 24X7 Power, etc?

The me­ter­ing in­dus­try has grown in the last cou­ple of years in terms of tech­nol­ogy as well as in terms of the num­ber of me­ters in­stalled. How­ever, at the same time, prices have been fluc­tu­at­ing, wit­ness­ing a down­ward trend. The brighter side is that al­most 99 per cent of the util­i­ties’ re­quire­ment of prod­ucts and so­lu­tions are de­signed and de­vel­oped in­dige­nously by the me­ter­ing in­dus­try, which is a great achieve­ment. The Gov­ern­ment of In­dia made ‘Pre­pay­ment me­ter­ing sys­tem’ com­pul­sory for all gov­ern­ment of­fices and gov­ern­ment build­ings, but it has still not been im­ple­mented across the coun­try. In fact, only a few states have started the im­ple­men­ta­tion process. States util­i­ties should en­sure im­ple­men­ta­tion of the gov­ern­ment’s di­rec­tives so as to im­ple­ment pre­pay­ment me­ter­ing sys­tem.

Kindly shed light on some of the new in­no­va­tions/ lat­est launches in the me­ter­ing seg­ment?

In­dia was sec­ond after Eng­land to in­tro­duce elec­tronic en­ergy me­ters way back in 1988. These were a lot smarter than the Fer­raris disc me­ters. While me­ters of to­day have rea­son­able in­tel­li­gence, our key fo­cus has to be on re­duc­ing rev­enue losses and look­ing at rev­enue com­plete­ness. Smart me­ter­ing so­lu­tions used in the Western world are not di­rectly rel­e­vant to In­dia. Our chal­lenges and busi­ness driv­ers are dif­fer­ent, and ex­pen­sive so­lu­tions will not be jus­ti­fied. We need a com­bi­na­tion of tech­nol­ogy, a cadre of com­pe­tent peo­ple to run the util­i­ties (with con­ti­nu­ity) and pro­cesses that will sup­port. Work­ing smartly is more rel­e­vant than us­ing Western style smart me­ters. It is not a magic bul­let for our power sec­tor ail­ments.

Ex­plain chal­lenges for state elec­tric­ity boards in rolling out smart me­ters as per the gov­ern­ment’s tar­get?

The main chal­lenge be­ing faced by the me­ter­ing in­dus­try is not get­ting pay­ments on time. Penal­ties im­posed by util­i­ties in­spite of de­layed pay­ments and fre­quent type test­ing of prod­ucts is adding to the ad­di­tional cost im­pact on the in­dus­try Be­sides, re­turn of de­fec­tive me­ters (tam­pered , burnt, dam­aged, etc) with­out any fault of man­u­fac­tur­ing, per­for­mance guar­an­tee en­cash­ment, pur­chase pol­icy with­out con­sid­er­ing field per­for­mance dur­ing ven­dor eval­u­a­tion are ma­jor pain ar­eas for the in­dus­try. Field per­for­mance mea­sure­ment is the key point to be con­sid­ered dur­ing ven­dor se­lec­tion and proper weigh­tage should be given while de­cid­ing the con­tract. At IEEMA, we are rep­re­sent­ing our pain ar­eas to dif­fer­ent util­i­ties from time to time but we have yet not achieved the de­sired suc­cess. In the near fu­ture, we shall again high­light our in­dus­try’s is­sues to re­spec­tive util­i­ties so that we can sus­tain our growth.

The govt plans to leapfrog from a sce­nario where there are no me­ters (in ru­ral ar­eas) to a com­plete smart me­ters de­ploy­ment. What should be the strat­egy and will sub­si­dies help?

No, sub­si­dies alone won’t help. The govt should take ini­tia­tives to con­duct var­i­ous train­ing pro­grammes in­volv­ing IT ex­perts, me­ter­ing ex­perts, com­mu­ni­ca­tion ex­perts, power dis­tri­bu­tion ex­perts, users and net­work ser­vice providers, so that they can share their ex­pe­ri­ence with power sec­tor em­ploy­ees and help up­grade their skills. This will help util­i­ties move for­ward to­wards au­to­ma­tion of the power sec­tor which is the need of the hour.

In the next five years, I see the in­dus­try mov­ing to­wards smart me­ter­ing/AMI so­lu­tions. This can only be achieved if the govt takes bold de­ci­sions for im­ple­men­ta­tion of smart me­ter­ing tech­nol­ogy with­out con­sid­er­ing the price cri­te­ria. Prices would au­to­mat­i­cally go down with the mass roll-out of me­ters.

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