Metering and billing has been revolutionized through advanced metering techniques and automated customer information and billing system. Old-fashioned meter reading with humans is fading away and advanced metering technology with automated meter reading is taking their place.
What is Smart Meter and AMI?
A smart meter is an electronic device that records using up of electric energy at hourly intervals and communicates that recorded information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing.
Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. Unlike home energy monitors, smart meters can collect data for remote reporting. This advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) differs from traditional automatic meter reading (AMR) in that it permits two-way communications with the meter.
Why Smart Meters?
In recent times, electricity distribution companies have witnessed substantial change in electricity deregulation and pricing throughout the country. They have been looking for techniques to match consumption with generation.
Traditional electrical meters only measure total consumption, and so provide no information of when the electricity was consumed at each designated site. Smart meters provide a way of measuring this site-specific information, allowing utility companies to introduce different prices for household and commercial consumption based on specific times of day or days of the week.
AMI Now in Pakistan
Two major power distribution companies – Islamabad Electric Supply Company (Iesco) and Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) – expressed their will to update the old billing and metering system. These companies are likely to begin the implementation of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project’s Phase-1 by mid next year.
The project is being funded with a soft loan of about $1.4 billion from Asian Development Bank ’s Power Distribution Enhancement Investment Program (PDEIP) MFF-II Tranche-1.
The initial phase of the deployment of Smart Meters
In the initial phase of the deployment of Smart Meters, three Lesco circles (Lahore) and one Iesco circle (Rawalpindi) have been selected for implementation.
When executed and implemented well, the same will be replicated and developed in the remaining technically and commercially suitable areas or circles of Power Distribution Companies (DISCOs).
“The auction document is currently being reviewed jointly by a leading consultant appointed by ADB and DISCOs. We are hopeful that the process for reviewing and finalizing the bidding leading to hiring of contractors for the provision and establishment of the AMI system will be completed soon,” Syed Wajid Ali Kazmi, CEO Lesco, told the reporters.
The programme will be implemented in various phases, with the goal of achieving substantial AMI coverage across the country’s major cities and industrial sectors.
Image: USAID Power Distribution Program
References: LESCO / IESCO / Dawn