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Smart meters to check power theft

Experts have always stressed on cutting down power losses from theft and long transmission lines. Leveraging advanced technology, the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) is now becoming serious about it. The board is planning to install smart meters – equipped with modems to keep track of individual users. A spike would be picked up and alert the board to the possibility of overdrawing of current that could otherwise go unmetered. In Chennai, misuse of power supply is a problem.

“Consumers take a connection for one purpose, but use it for another,” said an official. But once the meter fixed with a modem these malpractices can be curbed. “The local EB staff will record the average power consumption of the consumers.

There will be a modem in the meter.

If there is any sudden change in the power consumption, the computer will show a red sign with the corresponding consumer identification number,” said the official. Based on this alert, the TNEB staff will visit the spot and investigate the issue. “This technology will help avoid staff visiting every house or industry to check for pilferage.

Besides, the modem will store daily power consumption of the consumers,” said the official. According to TNEB officials, the statewide transmission & distribution loss stands at 18% on an average.

“This means a financial loss of Rs 4,000 crore,” said the official. Most of the wastage is from districts with agricultural consumers. ” Thanjavur and Cuddalore have high loss rates. This is mainly because of theft and the distance between the distribution point and the consumer,” said the official.

To curb this, TNEB will be installing more sub-stations and strengthening the transmission lines as part of the Centre’s Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP).

For Chennai alone, which has the lowest power loss in the state, Rs 1,000 crore has been allocated. For the entire state, nearly Rs 3,500 crores has been set aside. The first phase of the project involving collection of data pertaining to power supply in districts is under progress. It is expected to be completed to June 2012.

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