A sum of Rs 22,500 crore has been earmarked as the central government grant for the installation of 25 crore smart prepaid meters across the country under the Rs 3-lakh-crore scheme for power distribution entities (discoms) recently approved by the Cabinet.
The total outlay for smart-metering under the scheme is Rs 1.5 lakh crore, of which the Centre will provide Rs 900 per meter to the discoms, which comes to around 15% of the cost of these devices. States which are able to install smart prepaid meters before December 2023 will also be eligible for an additional incentive of Rs 450 per meter.
According to an office memorandum released by the Union power ministry on the contours of the discom scheme, the new meters are to be installed first in the 500 cities covered under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (Amrut) programme where aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses — an indicator of pilferage — are greater than 15%.
Priorities will also be given in the installation of smart prepaid meters in UTs, industrial and commercial consumers, government offices and areas with high loss levels. The funds will be received by the states only after successful demonstration of one prepaid billing period.