ISLAMABAD - The Planning Commission has asked Wapda for the cost rationalisation of about two million new smart meters, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), to be installed in two profit-making Discos, it is learnt reliably here.

The cost for the installation of the new smart meters by Wapda is too high, and the Planning Commission has asked for the cost rationalisation, an official sources told The Nation.

The cost of the installment of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is high and it will affect the consumers too as the Discos are not going to pay the installation fee of the new meters from their own kitty, the source maintained. “If no subsidy on the installation of new meters was provided to the consumers then the connection cost for the residential consumer will go three to four times up,” the source informed.

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Islamabad Electric Supply Company (IESCO) and Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO) are ready to kick start a three-year smart meter installation project in a bid to improve accurate customer billing and cut line loses.

The project is funded by the Asian Development Bank and is part of Rs 48 billion project of the bank. The objective of the project is to improve the commercial viability of the Discos by improving the accuracy of the electricity billed to the customers and eliminating the need to estimate bills.

Besides the installation cost there is also the maintenance cost of the AMI but the good thing is it will replace the meter readers with the automatic meter reading system.

Earlier the Planning Commission had asked the government that instead of installing AMI system invest the money in the upgradation of transmission and distribution system of Wapda’s Discos, the source said. “Smart meters are useless unless you have proper generation and efficient distribution system,” the source maintained.

Secondly the objection was raised over the nomination of profit-making Discos, I|esco and Lesco, for the installation of smart meters as the electricity theft as compare to other Discos areas are less in these areas. If the move, to install meter, is designed to cut down on theft of electricity, then install it in loss making Discos, the source maintained.

“I don’t know why they can’t install this technology in the loss making Discos instead they are targeting the law abiding consumers of profit making Lesco and Iesco “the source said.

“The water and power ministry is always crying about the electricity theft in Pesco areas so why they don’t install these meters over there,” the source questioned.

It is pertinent to mention here that two Wapda Discos, Multan Electric Power Company and Peshawar Electric Supply Company have already installed Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) Meter. In a bid to cut electricity distribution losses, modernise measurement and billing operations USAID has provided help to Mepco and Pesco in the installation of about 45,000 meters.

As compare to AMI, AMR is an older technology that only collects electrical energy consumption and transfers that data from the electric meter on the home to the utility (one-way communication). AMI meters, also known as smart meters are updated, digital versions of the traditional electrical meter attached to the outside of your home.

The AMI meter will be installed in Iesco and Lesco’s residential, commercial sector but not in industrial sector the source said.