Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), a joint venture between several public-sector enterprises helmed by the ministry of power, invited bids to procure 5 million ‘smart’ meters to be deployed in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in August, 2017. However, in this first large-scale rollout of smart meters, EESL may not have chosen the smartest technology, an IndiaSpendanalysis shows.
Unlike traditional meters that only record energy consumption, a smart meter is capable of two-way communication to also send information back to the electricity provider. In choosing GPRS (General Packet Radio Service that most mobile communications use today) over other technologies, EESL wants to use the existing telecom network to transmit data from smart meters, obviating the need for building a communication network from scratch and reducing upfront cost.
However, experts have told IndiaSpend, this technology may not be the most suited for India, which has poor mobile and data connectivity not only in remote and rural areas but even in large cities. Although EESL would avoid having to pay for installing new infrastructure, new meters may be obsolete every time 5G (fifth-generation) or newer technology comes in, requiring fresh expenditure. Also, GPRS-based meters would have monthly recurrent costs to be paid to telecom companies. Read More…
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