The India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) issued a whitepaper to help utilities simplify their deployment of smart meters to better manage their grid networks.The paper, AMI Rollout Strategy and Cost-Benefit Analysis for India, discusses factors including the country’s AMI standards and specifications, testing and installation of smart meters and their communication technologies.
In addition, the paper provides recommendations to help utilities implement effective procurement strategies and business models for their smart meter rollout.
Government policies and smart meter standards
The paper focuses on assisting utilities lower the cost of their AMI initiatives following the Indian government's announcement of the UDAY smart meter programme in February.
Under the UDAY programme, the government stipulates that power companies are required to deploy AMI systems to consumers consuming above 200KWh of electricity per month.
The programme calls utilities to conform to the country’s two latest smart meter standards IS 16444 and IS15959 part-2.
The government introduced the project following realisation that more than 35 million consumers use above 200KWh of power per month and need to be equipped with the smart meter to better manage their power use.
However, for utilities to lower the cost of smart meter rollout and maintenance, the paper recommends deployment of smart meters to all consumers despite their usage patterns rather than conforming to stipulations set under the UDAY.
Smart meter benefits
According to the ISGF, by deploying AMI systems for all customers on a feeder, utilities will substantially reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses through online energy auditing, which is not possible if all customers do not have smart meters.
The paper provides an analysis of the financial cost and benefits of deploying the new meters.
The installation of the meters for all customers is also expected to help in faster detection and restoration of outages, adds the ISGF. [Indian utility kickstarts AMI project to enhance billing].
For instance, when installing smart meters for all its customers, the ISGF predicts that a utility uses 4.690 million rupees to deploy 1 million smart meters. The use of the model will result in smart meter benefits including annual savings of 180 million rupees in meter reading cost, 90 million rupees on data entry cost and 60 million rupees on cost for power disconnections and connections.
On the other hand, deploying to customers using above 200KWh per month, a utility will spend 3.170 million in installing 650,000 smart meters. Per every 1 million smart meters installed under the UDAY model, a utility is expected to record annual savings of 117 million on meter readings, 58.5 million on data entry and 42 million on disconnections and power connections.
In addition to the financial benefits of deploying smart meters to all customers, the ISGF states that:
- Utilities will also reduce distribution transformer failure rate compared to deploying to few customers
- Establish a last mile connectivity in the most cost effective manner
- Deploying to all customers provides extremely good payback period of approximately four years whilst to few customers has a long payback period of more than nine years.
To reduce the cost of deploying and maintaining the smart meters, as well as the technological risk, the ISGF recommends that utilities implement innovative business models ,in which they partner with AMI service providers on a monthly rate per customer for ten years at mutually agreed service level agreements.
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