Electricity worth Rs 1 lakh crore never billed in India; smart metering can fix that: EESL MD

  • The billing efficiency of the power sector is about 83 percent, which means that 17 percent of the energy sold is never billed, said the EESL MD

  • It is more than the package of Rs 90,000 crore unveiled under the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme, he said

New Delhi: Saurabh Kumar, MD (Managing Director) of state-run EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Ltd) said on Tuesday that electricity worth Rs 1 lakh crore is never billed in India because of leakages in the distribution system and smart metering can held address the issue that has contributed to the debt burden on discoms in India. Speaking at the ETEnergyworld Virtual Summit on Smart Metering, Kumar said, “The billing efficiency of the power sector is about 83 percent, which means that 17 percent of the energy sold is never billed. Nearly 1,300 BUs was used last year and 17 percent of this is around 200 BUs of electricity.”

He added that assuming a small average cost of supply for discoms, and a very conservative figure of Rs 5 per unit, the figure works out to be a staggering Rs 1 lakh crore worth of electricity that is never billed, forget about collection.

‘Smart metering can plug the gap’

“It is more than the package of Rs 90,000 crore unveiled under the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme. The only answer today, if we want to plug this 17 per cent gap, is by smart metering. There is no other way in which we could ever make sure that we can bill every single unit of electricity that is produced,” the EESL CMD said. 

Kumar said that the combined losses of all state discoms, without subsidy, stands at more than Rs 1.5 lakh crore currently. “It is not a sustainable value chain because ultimately the generators and transmission companies get the revenue from the distribution end,” he added.

‘Digitisation is key’

Elaborating on a long list of power sector reforms undertaken in the country post 2003 after the enactment of the Electricity Act, the EESL MD pointed out that all reforms talked about smart metering and deployment of smart meters at the distribution level.

“SCADA systems were launched. But the fact remains that unless the distribution chain is digitised, we cannot have full synergy,” he said, adding that metering of government buildings is the first step towards starting pre-paid smart metering.

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