Given that electricity is a basic need for today, one would assume the power industry to be a major profit-making sector. However, this is far from the truth. Losses faced by state Discoms have crossed the 26,000 crore mark. A large part of these losses can be attributed to the distribution of power. In fact, the distribution sector is considered the weakest link. Losses in the distribution sector can be categorized as technical and commercial losses. Technical losses deal with infrastructure while commercial losses are more to do with unmetered connections, improper meter readings and billings, theft, poor collection of payments etc. These are losses that can be easily reduced. This article looks at thetop 5 ways to do this.
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There are still many electrical connections that are not being metered. Without a meter, billing the consumer becomes impossible. There are also many instances where the meter is faulty or defunct. Again, this results in an inability to bill the consumer. Even metered connections may not always be billed correctly. Traditionally, electrical meters had to be manually read. This has a high risk of
It could fill a swimming pool in less than 2 months. Smart meters can improve this level of accuracy for water measurement to 1/16 gallon per minute. When meters are more accurate, billing becomes better and the utility service provider can generate more manipulations and human error that can cause bill disputes.
The key to fighting losses in the power distribution sector is accounting for the inflow and outflow of electricity at various levels in the network. For this, regular energy audits are required at distribution transformer, feeder, division and company level. This helps identify reasons for technical losses as well as commercial losses caused by theft and misappropriation of power.
Surprise audits of consumer meters can help cut down on instances of bypassing the meter to enable data such as collection for the area and revenue billed. Bimonthly logical consumer groupings for meter reading can help identify irregularities.
Agencies that depend on manual processes to generate and distribute bills will agree that the process is slow, tedious and associated with a high risk of error. Even when the bills are generated correctly, they stand a risk of not being paid simply because they are not delivered to the consumer in time. With technology, this process can be automated to become a traceable, transparent process. Photometers reduce the chances of inaccurate meter readings and billing disputes. Enabling these meters with GPS technology will ensure that the bills are not misdirected and reach the right consumer in time.
An effort needs to be made into making it easier for customers to pay their bills. In a digital age, one cannot expect people to stand in queues and pay bills at a counter each month. Not only is this inconvenient for customers but is also slow, susceptible to corruption and untraceable. Billing agencies should be able to accept small payments as well as large payments. Digitizing this process makes it easy consumers to pay their bills on time and helps account for each payment. It makes it easier for the agency to identify outstanding accounts and to take action against them.
Traditionally, electricity is billed according to the amount already consumed. This can be changed to a prepaid system where customers pay for a certain amount of electricity before they consume it. Like a prepaid mobile system, this account can be topped up as and when required. When the customer’s electricity consumption meets the amount credited to his/her account, the meter will cut off from the main system until it is recharged. Shifting from a postpaid to prepaid service can eliminate many issues associated with meter readings, bill generation and revenue collection.
Ideally, commercial losses should not be more than 3-6%. Controlling direct tapping, pilferage and defective metering are the first few steps to reducing these losses. This requires a large scale plan to install meters for all connections and replace defunct meters with newer tamper-proof ones. This exercise needs to be complemented with efficient billing and collection. This is where technology leaders like Bynry Technologies can be helpful. Through smart metering, they offer an effective solution that can ensure accurate meter readings, generation and delivery of bills on- time, and collection of payments-both big and small. They even help with asset management. If you are one of the many entrepreneurs showing interest in the government’s franchisee model for the power distribution sector, Bynry Technologies could be your ideal partner.Read Casestudy