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Consultative Workshop on National rollout of smart prepaid metering jointly organized by MoP and USAID

Author(s): Shweta Kulkarni, Ann Josey, Aditya Chunekar, Shantanu Dixit Publication Date: December, 2019

Ministry of Power (MoP) in association with USAID recently organized a consultative workshop on national rollout of smart prepaid metering. Prayas (Energy Group) presented its views and recommendations in two sessions. While agreeing with the multiple possible benefits of smart meters, we recommended a cautious approach to the nation-wide roll-out. A complete shift to the new metering and billing system should ensure minimum inconvenience to the consumers. A continuous, systematic, and transparent documenting of lessons from the current large scale roll-outs in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Madhya Pradesh is recommended towards this goal. This will also enable a faster buy-in from the regulators, distribution companies, as well as consumers from other states thus leading to a faster national roll-out of smart meters. We also recommended that the MoP should issue a white paper on the privacy and the sharing protocols on the data collected through smart meters. Issues related to data privacy are complex and traverse across multiple domains requiring inputs from multiple stakeholders. As the large scale of roll-out of smart meters is already underway, it is high time that data privacy and data sharing protocols are in place to safeguard the data being collected.

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