For the first time in the country, state-run Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Limited (GUVNL) has developed GPRS-based personal digital assistance (PDA) meter reading system equipped with mobile application and bluetooth printer. The new system will not only help in real time and accurate generation of electricity bills but also aid live monitoring of meter readers working on the field through satellite imagery.
"This is a significant step in the direction of distribution reforms and by end of this year all the sub-divisions of the four electricity distributions companies of the state will gradually shift to this system," said Shahmeena Husain, director (administration) of GUVNL.
She said that the new system will go a long way in ensuring timely and accurate serving of bills to consumers across the state.
In the present system, meter readers of discoms who come to take the reading in every residential or commercial sites are issued printed books by sub-division offices which they have to carry to respective locations. They are equipped with hand-held equipments similar to that used by conductors of GSRTC for issuing bus tickets. The data is fed offline which is later interpreted and submitted at the data centre at the end of each day or at times even after a gap of two or three days.
"But in the new system, the meter readers won't have to carry printed books. They will be equipped with cellphones with pre-installed mobile application and a bluetooth printer," said Govind Tripathi, general manager (IT) of GUVNL, who lead the team of seven that has developed the new system completely in-house."The meter readers will have to just feed consumer number after which the past reading will automatically get displayed on their cellphone. Once, he feeds the current reading, the difference and the charges based on the tariff structure will get automatically calculated and using a bluetooth printer, he will issue a thermal print of the bill to the consumer," said Tripathi, adding that the data will automatically get transferred in the server ensuring that all manual discrepancies get avoided.
There are nearly 3,000 meter readers working with 550-odd sub-divisions across all the four discoms in the state. The system which also has provision of automatic synchronization if the meter reader is in no connectivity zone or black spot.
"We have applied for Prime Minister's award for this innovation which is our small step towards Digital India initiative," added Tripathi.