India’s smart meter rollout timeline released

India’s Ministry of Power has issued the timelines for the nationwide replacement of existing meters with smart meters by 2025.

In the rollout, all electricity consumers – other than agricultural consumers – in areas with a communication network will be supplied with smart meters operating in prepayment mode.

Union territories and electrical divisions having more than 50% consumers in urban areas with aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of more than 15% in the financial year 2019-20 must be metered with smart meters by December 2023.

Other electrical divisions with AT&C losses more than 25% in FY 2019-20 as well as all government offices at block level and above and all industrial and commercial consumers also must be metered with smart meters by December 2023.

The state regulatory commission may, however, extend these implementation periods up to two times and for not more than six months at a time for a particular class or classes of consumers or for specific areas.

All other areas are required to be metered with smart meters with prepayment mode by March 2025.

Exceptions are areas without a communication network where the state regulatory commission may permit installation of standard prepayment meters and consumer connections having current-carrying capacity beyond that specified in the relevant standard who may be provided with meters with smart meters with automatic meter reading facility.

All feeders and distribution transformers must have meters with an AMR facility or covered under AMI.

The feeders must be metered by December 2022. Metering for the distribution transformers has similar December 2023 or March 2025 timelines to the division consumer and loss breakdowns above, excepting distribution transformers and HV distribution system transformers having capacity less than 25kVA, which may be excluded.

India’s smart meter programme is being driven by a government JV IntelliSmart Infrastructure through a BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) model, with new funding commitments as part of a broader distribution sector reform intended to meet these targets.