How a DISCOM ensured high accuracy in Meter Reading through technology
The problem of commercial losses is widespread in India's power sector and has a significant impact on the financial viability of discoms. According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), the total commercial losses of discoms in India stood at 20.61% in the financial year 2019-20. This is a significant improvement from the level of losses seen a decade ago, but it still represents a significant drain on the finances of discoms. Poor Billing Efficiency and Theft are the major causes of Commercial Losses.
Commercial Losses of Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (UHBVN) were ____ in ____ which was reduced to ____ in ____ with significant improvement in Billing Efficiency through use of technology.
UHBVN carried out Meter Reading of LT Consumers through outsourced Meter Readers. These Meter Readers used to visit consumer premises and record the Meter Readings on a Meter Blank Register and later these Readings were punched into the CC&B application through Data Entry Operators. The process was inefficient and prone to errors and frauds. Incorrect/Bogus Meter Readings caused grievances and affected the reputation of the Nigam badly
UHBVN was looking for a cost effective, robust and efficient process to ensure accurate Meter Readings can be taken within timelines and correct Energy Bills can be rendered to the Consumers. It was observed that Nigam has procured DLMS and Non DLMS Electronic Meters in last 15 Years. These Meters have optical port which can be connected with a Hand Held Terminal to Download Meter Readings and correct Bill can be rendered to the Consumer based on Meter Reading recorded in the Meter Memory
The work was entrusted to us to provide a Mobile application which could be integrated with communication protocols of all Single Phase and Three Phase Non DLMS and DLMS Meters in order to download instantaneous parameters or billing parameters. In addition, it was desired that the GPS Coordinates from which Reading was taken shall be captured and uploaded along with Meter Reading to the CC&B application.
UHBVN procured Meters through discrete Purchase Orders from various Meter Manufacturers with different specifications. In fact, Meters were supplied with a different version of Firmware which supported different command sets for each batch for same Meter Make as well. So, a Door to Door Survey was carried out to identify the Meter Make, Year of Manufacture and Meter Serial No installed with each Consumer. After exhaustive follow ups, Protocols were arranged from the Meter Manufacturers and integrated with the Mobile app.
Training was provided to the Meter Readers for identification of each type of Meter and process to Download the Meter Readings from each Meter. Mandate was provided to the Meter Readers to open the Optical Port Seal and access the Metering Equipment to conduct Meter Reading through app. With concerted efforts, today over Meter Readings of over 95% of Downloadable Meters of various Makes are read through Optical Probe connected with Mobile app, Readings are uploaded to CC&B in real time and Energy Bill is issued, printed and rendered to the Consumer on spot.
DISCOM was able to reduce consumer complaints drastically, increase revenue and reduce AT&C Losses drastically with use of technology.