Can smart meters solve India’s electricity problem? -Rahul Tongia
They are a valuable tool for improved discoms. But they can’t solve what are fundamentally governance failures
Much has changed in the electricity sector in the last few years. Electricity generation capacity is now surplus after years of deficits, and the price of solar power has fallen by 70%. But one thing that has barely changed is the performance of the electricity distribution companies (discoms), which continue to bleed money. They also face operational challenges, despite some improvements in the reduction of losses (and, importantly, 100% electrification). There are now proposals to install 250 million smart meters across all users to try and radically improve the discoms. While a top-down push is important, unless there is bottom-up buy-in, such solutions will likely be under-effective, or worse, crowd out parallel or complementary efforts.
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Hindustan Times, 10 March, 2020, https://www.hindustantimes.com/analysis/can-smart-meters-solve-india-s-electricity-problem-opinion/story-yOR2TEBTW3zPOm0knXBdPK.html