NEA to provide smart meters to all the households with the aim to transform the power management system digital. So far only ToD and Three-Phase connections had the option of smart meters in Nepal. Now, smart meters are making their way to individual customers as well. Below you will find out the contribution of smart meters in digitalizing NEA’s power management system and the benefits.
Nepal Electricity Authority, in short NEA, will provide smart meters to all the households across the country with the aim to upgrade its electricity management efficiency. The program was first launched in 2019 as Kathmandu Valley Smart Metering project (KVSM), which started replacing dated single-phase analog meters with smart meters via Maharajgunj and Ratnapark distribution centers in the valley. Now, gradually e-meters will be distributed to all the customers throughout the country.
With the smart metering project, NEA will bring the next-level power management in the country and help customers gain better control over their power consumption. Smart meters will allow NEA to cut off the line over the air if needed as data can be transmitted wirelessly via radiofrequency.
NEA’s smart metering project is Aided by the Asian Development Bank’s loan of 94 crores. So far, the electricity authority has completed the installation of smart meters for 72 thousand households. There is a total of 97 thousand customers in those areas.
Project Continued Despite COVID-19
The project chief Ravindra Shrestha said “The Corona scare halted their progress for a while after its engineers and staffs contacted the virus. But since the cases have shrunken, they resumed their work.” He further revealed, “they are installing up to 450 smart meter units per day.”
Chinese company Pingo and Wisdom has acquired the contract for the procurement of smart meters. To speed up the project NEA had approached for ADB’s loan. The smart metering project is a pride project and NEA expects to complete its first phase plan for Kathmandu with ADB’s loan.
NEA’s Frequency Dilemma
Smart meters come equipped with an RF module underneath which records data and transmits them via GPS, WiFi, cellular networks, non-cellular IoT, or other connectivity options. The authority can view these recorded data at their offices remotely. However, the NEA’s frequency dilemma could subdue the whole efficiency of its smart meter project.
NEA has called for utility frequency in the range of 393 to 398.5 Hz from Nepal Telecommunications Authority. The issue, however, is that NTA is expecting Rs. 2 billion annually. NEA, on the other hand, maintains that utility frequency should come free as per international practices.
Due to this ongoing conflict with the telecommunications authority, NEA may even scrap the idea of remote data collection over the air and instead deploy meter readers as usual. For the time being, NEA has mobilized both GPS and meter readers to record data as per convenience.
Benefits Of Smart Meters
Smart meters bring to customers and the NEA a host of functions and features to keep track of power consumption. It supersedes the preceding analog meters behind with very convenient pros such as below.
- The customers can pay for electricity and receive information on an app.
- They can monitor the power consumption history on their smart meters in the records.
- One key advantage is the customers with solar panels can sell the surplus power to the NEA.
- Customers can monitor their power consumption in real-time.
- NEA can collect meters’ records remotely at their offices.
- NEA can also cut off the power supply remotely if needed.
- The customers will have better control over their power consumption.
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Smart Meters To All
So far, smart meters were exclusively provided to subscribers of Time of Day (ToD) and Three-Phase connections. Now, NEA will provide them to single-phase customers too for all individual homes in Nepal.
“We have issued tender to procure 5 lakhs smart meter units. NEA may not immediately implement the smart technology into its system but the tender would help all customers get smart meters in their households.” NEA’s Deputy Managing Director Hararaj Neupane said.
Having a smart meter set up in households will bring a lot of conveniences to the residents. Not only can they check on their power use in real-time, but they can also sell the surplus from Solar to the NEA.
Soon, smart meters will be coming to your hose replacing the dated analog meters. What is your opinion about it? Let us know in the comments below.