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Smart Energy Meters Monitor India’s Power Usage

India’s energy consumption is set to grow at 4.2% a year till 2035 and is arguably the fastest-growing among all major economies. Policy measures such as recent guidelines from the Ministry of Power, stipulating at least 70-80% localization by the creation of various finished products can galvanize domestic manufacturing. Smart meters are truly a modern solution to the power sector and can play a pivotal role in improving the financial health of the Power Distribution Companies (DISCOMs).

Smart meters can unlock a series of capabilities that improve billing efficiency such as automated remote billing services, outage reporting, flexible with time-of-use tariffs. It can also control Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses due to power theft, bypassing meters, defective meters, or errors in the meter readings. Utilities around the world are losing around $96B each year due to electricity theft, fraud, and billing errors. [1]

India’s last year’s billing efficiency was only 83%. Total Power consumption in the country was 1.3 trillion units and the remaining unpaid consumption of around 17% comes to 220 billion units. This resulted in a loss of over $14.7B, which is significantly higher than the government’s stimulus package ($11.98B) announced for DISCOM’s to help the economy recover from the COVID crisis. [2]

Implementing Smart Meters in India

Few drawbacks faced when using the conventional metering systems are AT&C losses, low tariffs, and internal inefficiencies that have now left DISCOMs in a tough financial position. The on-going COVID crisis and the poor financial performance of the power distribution companies (DISCOMs) have shown that the power sector needs a quick revamp and thus smart meters have to become a part of the solution. Smart meters require minimal direct human interaction and can record energy usage in 15-minute or hourly intervals and transmit data to the utilities constantly. The readings can be monitored by the consumer and the DISCOM remotely through the internet.

Smart meters are part of the overall Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) consisting of Communication Infrastructure (RF/PLC/GPRS), Head-End Systems (HES), and the Meter Data Management. A smart meter is capable of storing high-volatile data, remotely connect, detecting tamper, and two-way communication. AMI measures and records consumer’s electricity usage and sends the information to the energy suppliers through the GPRS technology for remote monitoring and control.

India has installed over 1.2M smart meters to date under the Ministry of Power (MOP) Smart Meter National Program (SMNP). The government’s target is about 250 million smart meters in the next few years. The manufacturing capacity in the country is about 80-100M electronic meters per year and the added advantage is the significantly localized supply chain. [3]

Backed by 40 Years of Expertise

Syrma provides electronics design and manufacturing services to diverse markets. As an IATF16949 certified electronics manufacturing company, we help global diverse industries and have been pioneers in solution providers to develop and manufacture custom telematics, RFID, and custom PCBA products. We understand our Indian market and we’re very familiar with its vast regulatory and selling environments and have catered many needs in the areas of telecom especially in base station communication systems. We foster growth opportunities within India through our strong technology incubation ecosystem. We also assist global OEMs seeking to enter the Indian market by leveraging the local supply chain and favorable operating environments for cost reductions.

Our flagship Chennai location opened in 2006 and lies within a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for electronics manufacturing, offering economic incentives for imports and exports. This primary facility is within 90 minutes of the Chennai seaport and 20 minutes to the international airport, with additional road and rail connectivity linking to the rest of India and beyond, as well as infrastructure advantages with faster import and export clearances. We also have labor force availability, both technical and manual, to rapidly scale to client demand. We look forward to discussing how we can deliver world-class products for OEMs and solution providers across the globe.

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