UP energy dept to probe supply of Chinese smart meters

In the past, the Parishad had also complained about glitches in the smart meters being installed by the EESL in the state
Amid the Indo-China border standoff, the Uttar Pradesh energy department is set to probe the alleged supply of Chinese smart meters under the garb of a shell company based in Indonesia.

Indonesia-based company PT Hexing had participated in the bidding process to supply the smart meters for installation at the premises of the electricity consumers in Uttar Pradesh.

However, UP Rajya Vidyut Upbhogta Parishad chairman Avadhesh Kumar Verma claimed PT Hexing was actually a shell company of China based Hexing Electrical Company Limited, since the two companies shared the same logo.

On his written complaint and documentary evidence, UP energy minister Shrikant Sharma today directed the state energy principal secretary to institute an inquiry into the matter for taking appropriate action.

The smart meters have been procured by the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), which is mandated for the installation of these energy saving and smart devices pan India.

While, Verma has raised questions on the quality of the Chinese smart meters, he observed that under the present circumstances, when there was a military confrontation between the two countries, the UP government should not allow a China origin company to supply the gadgets.

Recently, a consignment of about 8,000 PT Hexing smart meters had reached the state capital for installation.

“We have urged the state government to cancel the order of the Chinese smart meters and henceforth not allow any Chinese company to participate in such bidding process,” he told Business Standard.

In the past, the Parishad had also complained about glitches in the smart meters being installed by the EESL in the state.

Last year, UP energy regulator has issued notice to the state power utility over the installation of smart meters based on old 2G and 3G technologies in the premises of consumers.

The total project cost of 4 million smart meters to be installed across UP was then estimated at Rs 1,927 crore, while 200,000 gadgets had already been installed. Smart meters are touted to improve energy efficiency through realtime monitoring and transmitting power consumption data.

Hearing a petition filed by the Parishad against the installation of smart meters and modems based on old technologies, the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC) had sought a detailed status report from the managing director of UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL).

The Parishad had urged the watchdog to review the matter as to why smart meters being installed were not based on latest 4G technology, even as 5G technology was projected to be introduced in India soon.

In its notice, the UPERC had said when 2G and 3G technologies would be phased out gradually, who would bear the cost of upgrading smart meters with latest meters and what would be the net impact on the operational expenditure (opex) in this regard.

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