The Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) installed its first smart meters in the state, with the very first being fitted in the official residence of Power Minister James K Sangma, it was announced today.
The Smart Meter Project is an Asian Development Bank-sponsored effort to improve accuracy and lower operational costs, among other benefits.
In the coming months the Power Department plans to install nearly two lakh smart meters across Meghalaya.
In a press release, it was stated that the meters will promote ‘smart usage’ whereby consumers will be able to see exactly how much energy they are using and when they are using it thus enabling them to track and reduce electricity consumption as required. Consumers will no longer face problems of under billing, overbilling and non-billing. The consumers will only pay for what they are using.
“The introduction of smart meters will help the department to lower operational costs as no manual readings will be required, which will help in increasing billing efficiency in the state. The manpower used for manual readings will then be utilized for strengthening the operations and maintenance of the department,” the press release said.
Linemen will now not have to enter specific premises to disconnect power supply (for non-payment, for example) or to restart a connection.
The MeECL will also be able to conduct power quality monitoring in near-real-time, taking into consideration factors such as maximum demand, voltage fluctuation, outage detection, etc.
The smart meters come with both prepaid and postpaid facilities, though, for now, only postpaid connections will be operationalised. The meters are also tamper-proof, the MeECL said, with signals sent to the department if there is an attempt to break the seal.