The plan of installing digital electricity meters in the Sundar Industrial Estate has been put into action. The purpose of installing these smart meters is ensure to transparency by allowing real-time monitoring of the electricity meters for the industrialists.
Sundar Industrial Estate (SIE) was inaugurated in 2007 and is the brainchild of PIEDMC. PIEDMC is an autonomous, non-profit entity owned by the Government of Punjab, but run by a Board of Directors (BOD) comprising of private sector industrialists and ex-officio members. SIE is spread over 1750 acres of land and is home to around 531 industries.
The management of SIE has initiated the pilot project of smart metering in 10 industries for now. Once it proves to be successful, it will be extended to all 531 industries of the state. The process of procuring digital meters would soon be started by SIE’s management in accordance with the PPRA rules.
Before smart meters came into being, we had automated meters that only communicated from the customer to the energy supplier. Whereas a smart meter has two-way communication between the energy supplier and the customer. Compared to the automated meters, these digital meters provide you with more information about power which you can use to your advantage, and this why they have become popular recently and have started replacing the automated meters. They provide you with access to the meter’s power usage data. As a result, you gain more control over your energy usage either by changing your power usage habits or by detecting issues related to your power quality.
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Keeping in mind the expensive equipment that is being used in the factories located in SIE, it was essential that sophisticated smart meters be installed to protect the machinery from any damage. Smart meters help with this by measuring waveforms down to the millisecond, providing information about swings in frequency, sags in voltage, noise and harmonic distortions.
Net metering is an electricity policy for consumers, who own renewable energy facilities, which allows them to produce electricity for their own use and supply the excess produce to the national grid against units of electricity consumed during night time or when the RE facility owned does not produce enough electricity to meet the needs of the consumer.
NEPRA, in 2015, issued it’s net-metering regulations that allow the DISCO’s in Pakistan to purchase excess units of electricity produced by the consumers through solar and wind power and net them off with their consumption from the grid. The power that would be generated would reach the end consumer via distribution utility who would then be able to install a renewable energy facility and send the excess electricity back to the distribution grid and earn credit for his export.
Acknowledging these regulations, the Board of Directors ( BOD) at PIEDMC have also introduced a policy to encourage net-metering in all of its industrial states. The policy is going to be implemented in Sunder Industrial Estate first as PIEDMC is the one overlooking the distribution and development of the electricity networks there.
Around 650 consumers who are a part of Sundar Industrial Estate would get their meters replaced with GSM smart meters in the first phase of this project. This project is going to be funded by PIEDMC and is going to cost around Rs. 20 million. These GSM smart meters would allow the consumers to obtain the readings of their import and export units.
Moreover, they can be connected to the internet and the consumers can monitor their electricity meters in real time. The GSM technology also helps in controlling load usage by providing accurate information. PIEDMC aims to replace all electricity meters in Sunder Industrial Estate by 30th of June.
Mr. Ali Muazzam Syed, COO PIEDMC, stated that they are in the process of acquiring the services of an expert consultant so that the this project of net-metering that has been initiated can be completed professionally. Currently, there are around 8 units that are generating electricity through solar energy. PIEDMC’s objective is to make sure that these 8 consumers and the one’s who would join later, can benefit from at least 30 units of net-metering. It believes that this move would also make the consumers more inclined towards green energy and would help counter climate change. PIEDMC hopes that one day it would generate enough green energy to export to Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO). It also plans to introduce net-metering in the remaining industrial estates in the future. Mr Ali stated that PIEDMC is currently encouraging the new consumers to install solar panels and photovoltaic panels so that they can benefit from net-metering in the future.
Chairman PIEDMC, Syed Nabeel Hashmi stated that due to the efficient distribution system in SIE, line losses have fallen down to less than 1 percent. He further shared that these digital meters would assist them in cutting down the line losses to the lowest possible levels. These would also provide the industrialists with the opportunity to check their electricity consumption at any time and allow them to compare consumed units and bills accordingly.
Syed Nabeel Hashmi also said that it’s worth noting that the SIE has an underground electrical distribution system and due to it being successful, the same system is being replicated for the Quaid e Azam Business Park. President Board of Management SIE, Mr. Haroon has directed the concerned officers to complete this important project within the given time frame.