Chennai's Tangedco seeks tenders for smart metres

01 Jun 2023

Tangedco has taken the first step towards addressing the longstanding demand for monthly reading of power consumption by floating tenders to replace existing digital metres with smart metres. The tenders cover low tension connections, including domestic and small-scale industries linked to low-tension current transformers (LTCT) in 24 districts, such as Madurai, Trichy, Coimbatore, and Tirunelveli. Tangedco officials mentioned that tenders for Chennai and other districts will also be floated soon. They added that Package 3 will be floated in due course.

Although 1.25 lakh smart metres have already been installed in T Nagar and a portion of Kodambakkam as part of the smart city project, consumption continues to be read bi-monthly. Smart metres offer various features, including automated consumption reading on the last day of the cycle, automatic disconnection for non-payment of electricity bills, and reconnection once payment is made. They also have prepaid functionality and provide real-time consumption patterns. Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji had previously stated that monthly reading of power consumption can only be achieved through the installation of smart metres, eliminating the need for physical assessment.

Despite a 40% vacancy for assessors in Tangedco, the recruitment process has been put on hold as their roles may become obsolete with the implementation of smart metres. However, even after the installation of smart metres in all households and commercial spaces, which is expected to be completed before 2025, the decision to introduce monthly consumption reading will ultimately rest with the state government.

Under the Revamped Distribution Standards Scheme (RDSS), a total of 1.83 crore smart metres will be procured for the 24 districts. The contracts will follow the DBFOOT (design, build, finance, own, operate, and transfer) model. Consumers will not incur any charges for the smart metres, and Tangedco will also acquire approximately 4 lakh additional smart metres for future service connections.

The initial phase of installation will focus on houses, shops, and workplaces at the tail-end of the network, while subsequent phases will involve installing smart metres in substations, feeders, and distribution transformers to monitor transmission and distribution losses. Officials stated that digital metres can only be upgraded for automated reading purposes.

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