Working to rapidly establish its stated goal of pan-India universal electricity access, the government of India is enabling Smart Grids which can offer affordability and other benefits to consumers. The first step towards realising Smart Grids is the implementation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
The Smart Meter National Programme is being implemented to deploy smart meters across the country. The scheme is being implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a JV of PSUs under Ministry of Power.
AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) is the collective term to describe the whole infrastructure from Smart Meter to two way-communication network to control center equipment and all the applications that enable the gathering and transfer of energy usage information in near real-time. AMI makes two-way communications with customers possible and is the backbone of smart grid. The objectives of AMI can be remote meter reading for error free data, network problem identification, load profiling, energy audit and partial load curtailment in place of load shedding.
Building Blocks of AMI
AMI is comprised of various hardware and software components, all of which play a role in measuring energy consumption and transmitting information about energy, water and gas usage to utility companies and customers. The overarching technological components of AMI include:
The benefits of AMI are multifold and can be generally categorized as:
Despite its widespread benefits, deploying AMI presents three majors challenges that include high upfront investments costs, integration with other grid systems, and standardization.
AMI in the Indian Context
Modernizing India's grid system by investing in AMI promises to mitigate a number of strains placed on the grid due to growing demand for electric, gas and water resources. In particular, AMI will improve three key features of India's grid system including:
Source : India Smart Grid Knowledge Portal
The SMNP aims to replace India’s 250 million conventional meters with smart meters. The smart meters procurement will be procured by EESL. To begin with, the programme is initiated for the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, states with AT&C losses as large as 28.42% and 34.36% respectively.EESL's proven model of bulk procurement, aggregation of demand, and monetisation of savings will be the approach to roll out smart meters. This roll-out is proposed 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, on its investment, shall earn a nominal Internal rate of return (IRR) through a mutually agreed automated payback structure during the concession period, along with payment security mechanism from state governments and utilities.
Installation of these smart meters along with its associated communication and IT infrastructure will enable the DISCOMs to obtain real time energy consumption data of each consumer for subsequent analysis and will pave the way for initiating various smart measures by DISCOMs like Time Of Day (TOD)/Time Of Use (TOU) billing, prediction and management of peak demand, providing real time energy consumption data to consumer, prepaid billing facility, remote connection and disconnection of load, accurate billing, etc. Installation of these meters will also obviate the need for the meter reader’s visit to each and every consumer.
Source : EESL