THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Electricity metering and billing are turning smart with the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) all set to try out ‘smart meters’ in the state.
The KSEB will pilot the scheme in 50 households under the Thiruvananthapuram electrical division before introducing it to consumers having a monthly consumption of 500 units and above. As many as 15 companies have responded to an EoI floated by the KSEB in August for introducing the meters, KSEB officials said. A short list is expected to be ready soon.
Smart meters, as the name suggests, use IT solutions to achieve better results compared to conventional metering devices. This is achieved by establishing IT-enabled remote communication between the meter and the power utility’s data centre. ‘’For the pilot project, we will select 25 households that are geographically clustered and 25 others that are spread apart. The smart meters will be fitted parallel to the conventional meters and they will be linked to the data centre at the Vydyuthi Bhavan (KSEB HQ at Pattom),’’ said J Satyarajan, Executive Engineer (IT wing), KSEB.
‘’The big challenge is the establishment of seamless communication between the meters and the servers at the data centre,’’ he said. Among other things, smart meters will enable electrical section offices to directly ‘read’ the consumption and bill the consumer online. It will do away with manual reading, bringing better precision to the billing process. Smart meters are also expected to curb unlawful activities like power theft and meter tampering.
These meters are, in fact, a component of the futuristic ‘Smart Grids.’ Smart grids, an evolving technology globally, employ ICT to make power distribution more efficient. In fact, Kerala was one of 14 states selected by the centre in 2012 for piloting the Smart Grid. In the first phase, the smart meters will be introduced to 1.36 lakh consumers who have a consumption of 500 units or above. The KSEB hopes to migrate fully to smart meters by 2020-22, KSEB director (Corporate Planning) N Venugopal said.
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