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Patna will see work begin on the installation of 200,000 prepaid smart electricity meters.

These electricity meters will be used to increase consumer convenience, as well as decrease power theft.

“The state energy department has initiated bidding process in association with Energy Efficiency Services Limited for procurement of 200,000 smart prepaid meters for the state. The installation work will start in September. In the first phase, around 200,000 meters will be installed in all the urban areas of the state,” R Lakshmanan, managing director of South Bihar Power Distribution Company Limited said.

He added: “The expenses will be borne by the state government as well as the Centre. The target for completion of installation work in the first phase is February 2020. As many as 6,000 smart prepaid electricity meters have already been installed in government establishments and residences. Besides, around 10,000 smart electricity meters have been installed in Gaya and Hajipur under a pilot project. However, the smart meters installed in Gaya and Hajipur are older versions in terms of technology.”

The cost of the project will be approximately Rs 800 crore ($117 million).

With regards to the function of the meters, Lakshmanan said: “Prepaid meters can be recharged in advance with a sum as small as Rs 50 ($0.70). The consumer can recharge their meters online through mobile phones at any given point of time. However, for those who are not comfortable with online method, counters will be available in the offices of energy department for recharging their smart meters beforehand.”

Lakshmanan added: “A smart meter records consumption of electric energy in intervals of one hour or less and communicates this data to the utility company. This allows utility companies to introduce price differentiation based on the season and the time of day. This encourages consumers to change their energy consumption pattern.”