PowerGrid Corporation of India Limited (PowerGrid) has sought permission from the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) to upgrade its 1,700 stations in an initiative to implement the smart-grid mechanism. "The permission is expected to come in a month," a senior PowerGrid official said.
The official said the project would cost around Rs 655 crore and would be completed in three years.
According to PowerGrid, accurate and timely data helps tackle two factors that affect the grid the most — uncertainties and variability. The public sector company has also joined hands with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai to help analyse the data.
"Smart grid is an evolutionary process. Gradually, more technology would evolve that would prevent the grid from tripping," said the PowerGrid official. The company runs five grids — Northern, Eastern, Western, North Eastern and Southern.
While PowerGrid is ready to take up smart grid implementation across the national grids, the intra-State transmission systems have to be upgraded by the electricity distribution companies (discoms).
"Implementation of smart meters will cut down power outages and thefts, and consumption too can be reduced. But consumers should participate in grid management," he said.
The bigger question is who would bear the cost of upgrading the distribution system.
The PowerGrid official said that every unit of electricity may become more expensive but overall consumption would be reduced.
For example, if a household consumes an average 200 units a month, after putting in smart meters, this may come down by 20-30 units. This is because the household can program its electricity use.
Moreover, services would become more reliable, and disputes related to wrong meter readings and billing would come down sharply.