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Smart meters can plug gaps in power billing, payment. But that solves only a part of discoms’ worry.

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Energy

Smart meters can plug gaps in power billing, payment. But that solves only a part of discoms’ worry.

Around 17% of the electricity in the country is not billed for. With smart meters, discoms can track power consumption in real time, generate bills, and enforce timely payment. But the real problem behind their sagging finances lies in unpaid bills by state-government departments, stretched working-capital cycles, inadequate tariff hikes, and power theft.
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11 May 2020 6 Mins Read 4 comments
A newly installed electric meter on the wall of a house in a village in Uttar Pradesh on April 23, 2016. Getty Images
A newly installed electric meter on the wall of a house in a village in Uttar Pradesh on April 23, 2016.
Sukhdev Singh was in for a shock when he got the electricity bill this month. Puzzled, the West Delhi resident immediately got down to calculating what triggered such a huge spike in power consumption in his household. After a few phone calls to his friends and neighbours, he understood what the real issue was. “The bill was sent
to access electricity. This could increase the instances of theft. There is another challenge. Smart meters will require access to network and support architecture to transmit and store data. However, there is no clarity on the network cost, who will bear it, and its impact on electricity bills sent to the consumer. (Graphic by Mohammad Arshad)
Sukhdev Singh was in for a shock when he got the electricity bill this month. Puzzled, the West Delhi resident immediately got down to calculating what triggered such a huge spike in power consumption in his household. After a few phone calls to his friends and neighbours, he understood what the real issue was. “The bill was sent to access electricity. This could increase the instances of theft. There is another challenge. Smart meters will require access to network and support architecture to transmit and store data. However, there is no clarity on the network cost, who will bear it, and its impact on electricity bills sent to the consumer. (Graphic by Mohammad Arshad)

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