“Smart intelligent meters are the way forward for India”

Landis+Gyr has helped utilities benefit from technology and innovation to meet requirements, and ultimately to manage energy better. The company’s meters and solutions empower utilities and end-customers to improve their energy efficiency, reduce their energy costs and contribute to a sustainable use of resources. Ashish Tandon - Vice President-Sales and Marketing, Landis+Gyr sheds light on various aspects of Indian Energy Meter, the company’s innovation, products & services...

Please take us through the journey of the company and its products & services in India.

Landis+Gyr has its roots in India for more than 50 years now. With its state-of-the- art manufacturing unit at Joka (Kolkata), it has been manufacturing Static and Smart meters for India and abroad.

We have our head office in Kolkata with branch office across all regions. In Noida, we have a global R&D setup in access of 500 engineers working for India and global market requirements providing a strong knowledge pool for meters and related solution under one roof.

We are a GLOCAL company (Global company having strong Local presence) having vast experience of Smart metering rollouts across the globe with strong footprints in India. Also, we are one of the frontrunners in the upcoming AMI rollouts in India.

What is the USP of your products? What kind of innovations would you like to make in your products to make them more energy and cost-efficient?

Landis+Gyr is the brand recognized for reliability and innovation. We follow all the global quality standards and set very high reliability benchmarks in Indian social and environmental conditions. We are continuously working on innovation in the field of metering and solutions and have launched our Grid stream suite (an end to end solution for Smart metering roll outs including RF communication, Head end system and Meter data management). We have developed and launched the Smart meters, meeting all Indian requirements and global reliability/ quality standards.

Cost is always a challenge in the Indian market. Having GLOCAL approach, we continuously work on automation in processes, new technologies and alternate designs to address market requirements.

What is the size of Indian Energy Meter industry? At what rate industry will grow in the medium term?

India is currently witnessing a revolution in the field of energy metering, where advanced products are fast replacing the conventional ones. The current size of the dynamic energy meter market, estimated to be in excess of Rs 3,000 crore, is trying to keep pace with the rapidly evolving requirements of end users in India and technological advancements abroad. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8-10 percent over the next 4-5 years. Extensive power capacity augmentation and improvement of electrical grid networks are supporting the growth of this industry. According to recent industry reports, distribution utilities globally are expected to spend $378 billion in smart grid technologies by 2030, where India is estimated to install 130 million smart meters by 2021. No doubt, intelligent smart meters are going to be the trend in the future.

What kind of potential do you envisage for the sector with the government’s particular focus on upgrading overall infrastructure like roll out of 100 smart cities, commitment to provide 24*7 electricity to all? So, what have been the recent technological innovations in the Indian energy meter industry?

India as a developing country is full of potential. Generation, transmission and distribution need to become more efficient and to be monitored in real-time to compensate for any losses and breakdowns.

In the Indian Meter Industry, smart meters are being implemented. Smart meters facilitate real-time pricing, automated recording of the electricity consumption and a complete eradication of errors due to manual readings and reduce labor cost. They also enable instant fault detection. Smart meters not only enhance the ease with which electricity bills are generated and transmitted, they also provide better control on one’s electricity consumption by providing real time consumption data. The consumer can monitor their electricity usage and in turn optimize their consumption. A smart meter offers insights into the expenditure on electricity which proves to be a great incentive for consumers to save electricity and in turn reduce the pressure on the constantly depleting non-renewable sources of energy. A network of all the smart meters connected to a smart grid will positively influence the methods and modes of electricity generation, transmission and distribution.

What are the bottlenecks that the Indian Energy meters industry is facing? What kind of support would you expect from the government?

The meters are to be at affordable prices as the state electricity board’s financial condition is not strong enough.

Good quality manufacturers are facing competition from cheap quality manufacturers.

Moreover, Smart intelligent meters are the way forward for India. The Government needs to push for regulations and ‘Smart Meter Approach’ along with some incentive schemes in order to promote this change.

The Government can make it mandatory for every utility to deploy smart meters so that energy auditing, accounting and billing becomes much more easy and reliable.

Product awareness should be created among the end users and even among consultants or decision makers.

Import of Chinese equipment is still a matter of concern for the industry. What is the scenario for Indian energy meters?

Be it any industry ranging from metering to computers to automobiles, China dominates the global market in terms of production and export. The reason being the availability of quality engineers, R&D Centers, Govt’s support and the required raw material at lower costs. However, not much China dominance is seen in the Indian metering market yet.

India is close to implementing smart meters. What will its implications on general consumers? How will this move benefit the Indian power sector?

Customers will be benefited as they would be receiving accurate and timely bills as the energy consumption details will be available with utilities on real time basis. Reduced costs/tariff and increased convenience for prepay will also be an added advantage.  There will be less environmental pollution due to reduced carbon emission.

Indian power sector utilities on the other hand will have advantages like:

 Reduced peak load demand
 Improved power reliability and quality
 Enhanced capacity and efficiency of existing electric power networks
 Reduction in AT&C losses resulting in improved outage management
 Monitoring of energy consumed by end users billing them accordingly and remote connect/disconnect facility
 Grid becoming more reliable and fault-tolerant
 Integrate renewable energy projects into the grid

The Government has up-scaled the target of renewable energy capacity to 175 GW by the year 2022 which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro-power. Going ahead, what potential will it generate for the energy meters segment?

The country is shifting its focus from coal based power plants to renewable energy generation plants like solar power, hydro power project, wind power project and all other renewable energy generation scheme. This step is highly appreciated as this will help to reduce the carbon emission significantly and will also help in attaining sustainable development.

Because of the recent steps taken by the governmnet to boost power infrastructure, the market for energy meter looks good. Also, with the government giving subsidy to rooftop solar plants, the net meter will soon gain its ground in complex energy sector of India.

What will be the impact of GST on Indian energy meters sector?

Currently, tax concessions and exemptions, both at the Central and state level are available on specified goods and services which are used in the energy sector. However, with the GST regime generally set to trim such exemptions and concessions, the effect on the energy sector may be significant.

What is your outlook for the sector?

Presently, India is gearing up to develop its infrastructure in order to become a global economic leader. In its quest to develop its infrastructure, the major push is being given to the power sector which has been languishing for so long. Recent schemes like UDAY, R-ADRP and many more are providing financial and technical support to the Discoms. The  Government of India is also trying to convert their traditional grid into the smart grid, and the smart meters are an indispensable part of smart grid.

Growing of renewable energy in power sector will increase the complexity of the grid management. Increasing the capacity of renewable energy also requires increasing the capacity of the transmission lines. Hence, it’s good news for meter manufacturing industries, because requirement of the meter will increase.

All this will be achieved by implementing smart grid in India, and smart meter is the major part of the smart grid. The only question is the rate of growth, which can vary from state to state largely depending on the government’s policies and willingness of utilities to take the risk in terms of finances, technology and implementing smart metering.

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