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Interaction | October 2013

Metering- The Electronic Metering Market is Growing Because of AMI

As majority of customers are moving to electronic energy meters, the demand for these meters will hit 15-20 million meters per annum, says BS Babel, CEO, Energy and Joint Managing Director, Secure Meters.

Please share your expertise in metering for the energy sector?
Secure Meters pioneered the concept of electronic energy meters in India in the late 80s. We are the first manufacturer in India to develop frequency-based meters for bulk power transfers. This development helped us win Government of India's national award for 'Best In-house R&D'. The development of distribution transformer meters is another feather in Secure Meters' cap.

Over time, these have helped utilities to identify and check distribution losses and to improve the overall revenue. Furthermore, revolutionary innovations, in the last one decade, in the field of IT and communications, have helped us in developing innovative and state-of-the-art products with remote meter reading capabilities to cater to the varying requirements of the utilities.

The development of 'Liberty' prepayment meters is another milestone in the history of the company. Prepayment meters empower electricity consumers to manage their demand and conserve energy. Today, we have a large number of energy metering products with innovative features for various applications of the electricity utilities, viz. single phase meters, direct connected meters, CT/PT operated meters, single phase and three phase prepayment meters, ABT grid meters, to name a few.

From the beginning, we have been the market leader in India and now are the largest exporter of metering products to Europe, South East Asia, Middle East, Australia, etc. We have a market presence in more than 40 countries worldwide. We are committed to technology, and our large team of highly qualified and dedicated engineers has made all these technological achievements in the field of energy metering possible. We have other business divisions, which help manage and control energy through smart technologies.

Explain the demand-supply scenario in India.
The Indian meter industry has been growing for the last 4-5 years, as majority of the customers have moved to electronic energy meters. The present market size (by value) is around Rs 2,700 crore and is growing at about 6-7 per cent per annum. There is greater thrust by the central and state governments to reduce losses and opt for good quality electronic meters. In the next five years, the demand for electronic energy meters will hit about 15-20 million meters per annum. We will also witness the introduction of new technologies such as prepayment meters and smart meters in India. Metering will remain a priority for most utilities, whether government-owned or private-owned, and we expect that the present volumes will be sustained for a minimum of five years.

Globally, the electronic metering market is growing because of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). Good quality is critical for large scale deployments such as smart grids or AMI. While meter manufacturers can exploit these opportunities, they need to ensure quality of these products.

A clear road map will help the industry to develop suitable products and create the capacity to meet the expected demand for smart meters. At present, the Indian meter industry has the capability to cater to the requirements of utilities in terms of both volume and quality.

What kind of technologies has being introduced in metering with an emphasis on smart grid systems?
Smart meters are a must to make smart grid a success. Most of the utilities in the world have first implemented smart metering on the journey to implement smart grid. Smart meters are equipped with modern communication capabilities such as GPRS and radio frequency (RF), and they can communicate with various devices and help manage the load effectively. We have also developed a wide range of products for demand side management (DSM), which helps consumers to manage their consumption.

Utilities have been using our products for a long time. These products enable time of use (TOU) tariffs and have remote connect and disconnect features for single phase and three phase residential and commercial applications. However, for India, we need to first consider a more basic and low-cost approach to improve our revenue management and load control systems.

What are the growth plans for the company in FY14?
The company has been consistently growing at a reasonable rate and we expect this will continue in the years to come. The market is very competitive in terms of pricing and technologies. In order to keep this continuity, we plan to develop and launch more technologically-advanced products and services, and also expand our market reach. Our growth is entirely driven by products, which deliver benefits to the end users.

Kindly update us about your manufacturing units in India?
We have four state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in India three in Himachal Pradesh and one in Udaipur (Rajasthan). Our production processes are accredited with ISO 9001-2008 and ISO 14000 certifications.

Please share your expansion plans for FY14?
Our solutions have been accepted by customers in the developed and developing world, and our plan is to increase our geographical presence in newer markets.

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