India is striding gallantly towards its vision of cost-effective and easily accessible 24×7 power. As the third-largest conventional energy producer, India is in the midst of building the world’s largest solar plants to achieve 175 GW of solar capacity by 2022. Though there has been an unprecedented increase in power generation, distribution still proves to be a hurdle for the power sector. Currently, India curtails renewable-energy generation to prevent grid ‘overloading’, causing renewable-energy developers losses, and affecting equipment efficiency. Smart meters have been made a part of the government’s UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana) scheme endeavors, which can unlock a cascade of benefits for discoms and consumers.
Smart meters will help discoms rebalance the grid’s energy sources and achieve renewable-energy infusion by forecasting energy demand cycles in real-time. Smart meters record fluctuations throughout the day; this, in turn, will enable discoms to explore ‘Time of Use (ToU) tariffs’ that accurately reflect energy prices. Smart meter data can ensure faster outage detection and restoration of services, and end billing inefficiency via an automated bill meter reading when DISCOMs and consumers have real-time communication between them. This will encourage consumers to consciously adopt energy efficient practices, managing energy costs better.
Variety of technologies can underpin the two-way communication with discoms such as low-energy radio frequency (RF) waves, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and Cellular technology. Smart meters are the first step in the digitization of energy powered by cutting-edge technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and automation.
The benefits of smart meters are immense with its simple accessibility for consumers, who get an unparalleled degree of transparency and trust in their DISCOMs, and reliable electricity supply only through a simple one-time installation of a sophisticated appliance.