What is the Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP)?

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Kerala’s move towards an alternate model for the rollout of smart electricity meters, effectively jettisoning the Centre’s Rs 3 lakh crore smart meters project, comes as a spanner in the works for the Union Government scheme.

What is a Smart Meter? 

  • A smart meter is used for recording the consumption of electricity, but it also measures voltage levels.
  • While traditional meters measure the power consumption of a home or business, smart meters live up to their name and transmit the same information every 15 minutes or hourly to utility providers.
  • Since they are connected to the internet, smart meters can communicate information to the consumer about usage and also to the utility provider for monitoring purposes and accurate billing.

About Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP)

  • It is an initiative by the government of India to promote the use of smart meters across the country.
  • The aim of the SMNP is to improve the billing and collection efficiencies of distribution companies (DISCOMs) operating in the country.
  • SMNP aims to replace 25 crore conventional meters with smart meters in India.
  • The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL).
    • EESL is a joint venture of four National Public Sector Enterprises: NTPC Limited, PFC, REC, and POWERGRID, and was set up under the Ministry of Power.
  • This roll-out is under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT) model, wherein EESL will undertake all the capital and operational expenditure with zero upfront investment from states and utilities.
  • EESL recovers the cost of these meters through the monetization of energy savings, resulting from enhanced billing accuracy, avoided meter reading costs, and other efficiencies.
  • The smart meters are installed as per guidelines issued by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).
  • Benefits associated with smart meters:
    • For consumers, smart meters can help save on electricity bills by allowing them to track their consumption and make decisions accordingly.
    • For utilities, smart meters can improve operational efficiency and help in managing power demand.
    • Smart 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.

Q1) What is the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL)?

EESL is promoted by the Ministry of Power, Government of India, as a Joint Venture of four reputed public-sector undertakings NTPC Limited, Power Finance Corporation Limited, REC Limited and POWERGRID Corporation of India Limited. It is registered under the Companies Act, 1956 on 10th December 2009. EESL was formed to create and sustain market access to energy efficient technologies, particularly in public facilities like municipalities, buildings, agriculture, industry etc. and to implement several schemes of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, Ministry of Power and Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India. EESL is also leading the market-related activities of the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE).

Source: How smart is the Centre’s smart meter plan and why Kerala’s move to opt out underscores some of the scheme’s inadequacies