India’s Smart Metering Breakthrough Index

By Richard Rossow & Thomas Lutken — 

Power meters in Rajasthan, December 2019. Photo: Frédéric Soltan/Corbis via Getty Images.

States in red have no smart meters.

This Issue:

Uttar Pradesh leads our smart metering breakthrough index with the strongest commitment to implementing smart metering at a large scale. Uttar Pradesh has also demonstrated a solid foundation of consumer engagement through electronic bill payment (e-payments). The runners up were smaller states like Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, and Manipur, which combined achievable goals with variable levels of e-payments.

Why it matters:

Indian electricity distribution companies (discoms) face difficulties collecting revenues from their consumers. At the same time, many Indians are unsatisfied with poor quality electricity service. To break this cycle, India instituted the Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP.) Smart meters enable automated bill reading, deter corruption, and give discoms much more detailed information about demand, while also allowing consumers to adjust their usage throughout the day. Through reduced costs via automated reading and increased billing efficiency, India hopes its discoms will strengthen their financial situations while improving service.

How the Index works:

We ranked states’ smart metering progress according to three factors – the progress each state has made towards its smart metering goals; total share of smart meters deployed within each state; and the percentage of consumers paying their bills online. These factors help us gauge two things – how committed states are to using smart metering, and how well the existing discom payment structure can incorporate smart metering for paying bills.

Our Data:

Our smart metering data is from the discom assurance scheme (UDAY) government dashboard. UDAY evaluates states based on their most recent available data for both number of deployed meters as well as their progress towards their smart metering goals. Among the 28 states, 12 report zero on both parameters as there has been no reported deployment of smart meters. For e-Payment data, we used the Urban Uyoti Abhiyaan (URJA) dashboard which monitors hundreds of villages across India as part of the integrated power development scheme (IPDS.) For instances where the most recent month was unavailable, we used an average of all available data over the past twelve months.

We used a ten-point scale to assess each state’s smart metering program based on three scores with different weights.

Highlights of the analysis: 

  • Uttar Pradesh has installed over 450,000 smart meters, 45 percent of all the smart meters in India. If we include Madhya Pradesh and Manipur, roughly 75 percent of the smart meters are in these three states.

  • Small Eastern states perform especially well because they have small populations and modest goals.

  • Many larger states, like Tamil Nadu, Punjab, and Maharashtra, have committed to large numbers of smart meters but have failed to realize these goals.

Mr Richard M. Rossow is senior fellow and holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS. Follow him on twitter @RichardRossow. Mr. Thomas Lutken is a research intern with the Wadhwani Chair at CSIS. 

Richard Rossow

Richard Rossow

Richard M. Rossow is a senior fellow and holds the Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies at CSIS.

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