Amit Vaidya, Director, Strategic Customer Team, Sensus says the Xylem brand is working on creating the right manpower and introducing newer technologies in the Indian utilities space.
Even as the power distribution sector in India is expanding rapidly, what are the challenges that you are likely to face going forward?
The main challenges lie in terms of having a skilled workforce and deploying newer technologies. The existing assets and infrastructure are outdated and need to be replaced with new meters. The Ministry of Power has taken up several initiatives to roll out smart meters. The initiative on smart grid deployment and pilot projects being run by various utilities will help in creating valuable skill sets. I am sure that the learning gained from those pilot projects and technology trials will help Indian utilities and technology providers deploy smart meters and grid technologies more efficiently.
You had recently conducted technology trials for your AMI FlexNet in Delhi and Maharashtra. What is the progress on that front?
We had signed an MoU with the BSES Yamuna Power Ltd (BYPL) and Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd (MSEDCL) during the last India-UK Tech Summit held in November 2016. We have been installing the FlexNet infrastructure at BYPL sites using the vendors recommended by BYPL. The initial study on the radio plan has already been completed. The site survey is already established and we hope to commence live demonstrations in the very near future.
Are these the first trials of their kind as far as Sensus is concerned?
We have been deploying such systems worldwide and already have over 40 million smart in point meters deployed using FlexNet. From the India perspective, this first of its kind technology trial to showcase a Sensus technology will add a lot of value to utilities.
What benefits are likely to accrue to service provider on completion of trials?
The biggest benefit would probably be in terms of getting reliable metering data from the consumer end to data centres. A service provider can monitor energy theft and do audit based on 15-minutes' data derived from smart meters. We are aiming at around 99.5 per cent reliability in data collection.
How do the solutions that you provide help optimise the asset life of existing meters and other infrastructure?
As I mentioned, the FlexNet solution actually brings real time data from smart meters and field devices to the control centre, which can help utilities monitor as well as schedule their maintenance. And this helps in optimising infrastructure.
You presently have a development centre in Hyderabad. Tell us something about your plans going forward?
Sensus has launched the Hyderabad development centre to support its projects globally. Furthermore, the skill sets that we are creating in India will help us in deploying systems for utilities here. We see India as a big business opportunity. In August last year, Xylem announced the acquisition of Sensus. Xylem has a major presence in India and both companies will be synergising to develop end-to-end solutions to provide data-based analytics using this infrastructure.
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