Leading firm’s in fray for 5 million smart meters tender

Leading Indian and foreign companies including Vodafone, TCS, Larsen & Toubro, Tech Mahindra, Tata Power and France’s EDF are eyeing government’s purchase of 50 lakh smart meters, which will give them access to big data on power consumption and create a market for 50 lakh SIM cards for connecting the devices.

Forty companies, which also include equipment makers and trade bodies, have held discussions with Energy Efficiency Services (EESL), which has tendered for 50 lakh smart meters in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana in the first phase as part of the smart-grid project. Bids are expected next week.

Among other players who participated in the pre-bid were HPL Electric and Power, India Smart Grid Forum and Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers Association (IEEMA), which is a body of 800 manufacturers of electrical, industrial electronics and allied equipment in India.

The tender is divided into two parts — meter procurement and system integration. System integrator will see meter installation, data storage on cloud, preparing dashboards, among other things.

According to media reports, EESL is looking at a GPRS-based model for smart meters, which is basically placing a SIM card in the meter for communication. GPRS is an open technology, and also most widely-accepted worldwide for setting up smart meters, which also brings cost benefit for the procuring agency.

The initial phase will see deployment of 40 lakh smart meters in Uttar Pradesh and 10 lakh in Haryana, even other states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat and even Delhi are keen on deploying smart meters.

There may be another bid for smart meters, depending on how the first one takes off, EESL managing director Saurabh Kumar said. “It all depends on how quickly the first bid takes off, how quickly they are deployed So, we have just said, ‘just hang on for a while, let’s see what cost throws up’,” he said. “If the costs are very high, I may not be able to take this forward.”

 

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