New Delhi | Jagran Business Desk: The 'smart prepaid electricity meter' scheme which is being implemented in Bihar, will now be extended across the country. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to introduce the scheme pan-India while presenting the Union Budget 2021-22 on Monday.
The smart prepaid meters are connected through a web-based monitoring system, which will help reduce commercial losses of utilities, enhance revenues and serve as an important tool in power sector reforms.
The prepaid functionality of the smart meters is also an added advantage, as it provides distribution companies (DISCOMs) with an option to switch to prepaid mode, wherein the consumers pay upfront for the electricity.
The utility of this feature was quite apparent during the lockdown, as DISCOMs in Bihar were able to generate a daily revenue of Rs 5,00,000, with consumers on an average recharging their prepaid smart meters with a credit balance of Rs 20 daily.
The immediate generation of working capital for DISCOMs is also highly advantageous, as the revenue is generated at the point of sale, which otherwise takes a couple of months.
Some other key benefits of smart prepaid metering include, a marked reduction in peak power purchase cost, the ability to conduct power quality analysis in near-real time such as power factor, maximum demand, and a sharp reduction in carbon footprint.
The Smart Meter National Programme aims to replace 25 crore conventional meters with smart meters in India.
Sitharaman also proposed a Rs 3.05 lakh crore scheme spread over five years to revive discoms and a framework to provide electricity consumers option to choose from service providers. These two announcements are aimed at ensuring 24X7 Power for All as envisaged by the central government.
Last year, the government had enforced consumers rules for the power sector to ensure delivery of services.
But loss-making and cash-strapped discoms - which are mostly owned and run by state - are unable to buy sufficient power from generation firms to provide round the clock supply. Total outstanding dues of the discoms towards power generating firms stood at over Rs 1.35 lakh crore as of December 2020.
Posted By: Abhinav Gupta