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Billing equipment: Sunrise industry?

Dec 12, 2000

The transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment major Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) has bagged an order to supply of 10,890 energy meters to Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST). The order is valued at Rs 103 m. ABB is the latest in line of a growing list of companies who are looking at selling sophisticated energy meters to utilities. Power generation and distribution major, BSES Limitedís 100% subsidiary BSES Telecom provides computerised billing services to various state electricity boards. It is also looking at manufacturing single-phase domestic consumer electronic meters. Of late, more and more utilities are becoming commercially savvy and focusing on computerised billing services as well as management information systems to control distribution losses and reduce their outstandings.

The Indian power sector not only suffers from high transmission and distribution losses but also from large-scale pilferage of electricity. In the last five decades, uneducated or semi-educated peopleís representatives, who have actually considered the organisation of the state electricity board as their fiefdom have utilised the state electricity boards to serve their purpose, rather than that of the society. This problem has also been aggravated sometimes, by the collusion between employees, consumers and the peopleís representatives. As a result, a certain mass of consumers feel that it is the governmentís job to supply electricity and it is their right to consume without paying for it.

Outdated electricity meters, which can be tampered with, do not enjoy the confidence of both the paying consumers and the utility companies. Hence, the need for intelligent energy meters. Whether the power distribution is state run or private, both will increasingly require proper billing systems to help ascertaining the outstandings, and also keep a tab on the pilferage activities. These meters will not only enhance accuracy but would also be tamper proof. As the industry gets more professional, these systems will be increasingly used.

It is no wonder then, that equipment companies like ABB and utility companies like BSES are increasingly looking at taking advantage of this growing segment.

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