OP-ED Smart Meters – Out With The Old And In With The New
The article in focus is presenting the idea of smart meters, where the conventional meters will be replaced with new smart meters which are prepaid and will eliminate the need of middlemen to do the readings.
This step by the government is a rather welcoming one. There are both pros and cons to it. First of all, by introducing these meters, there will be cost savings, especially from the corruption and losses as a result of middlemen colluding with heavy parties to get bribes for the lower electricity bills. Secondly, there will be higher efficiency in the billing system and will reduce the hassle faced by the consumers every day.
Let us look at the cost savings by the elimination of meter readers. A survey conducted by independent researchers found that around 35% of the respondents claimed that they paid heavy bribes to the meter readers and linesman for their work. So, by the introduction of the smart meter, these people will not be dealing with the individual consumers, but they will rather be working on the maintenance work.
This is not just going to save costs in corruption, with the elimination of the middlemen, there will be less money spent on these overheads and will drastically reduce the costs that are hung in this whole system. With the middlemen, out of the line, there will be reduction in costs and increase in savings. And the good thing is that these cost saving will be directly translated to the pockets of the consumers at the end.
With the new meter system in place, the need for people to stand in the long queues for bills will be eliminated, and people will have to go and pay smartly anywhere. They will be even able to pay on their smartphones with just a click of a button. So, there will be no more need of getting up on the last day of the bills and standing in the scorching sun in the summer heat to pay your bills. Furthermore, with the connectivity directly to your smartphones, these meters will be directly feeding data to your phones.
Now you can not only get live data but also will be able to keep a close eye on those units and hence will also be able to save up a lot of money in electricity bills.
In addition, these smart meters will increase the efficiency of the electricity department as well. By the installation of these meters, the department will directly get the real-time readings. These meter reading will be real time, so a tampering with the meters will result in an alarm or warning at the department’s end. So all the department’s firewalls and security will kick in and will be able to tackle with electricity thieves more vigilantly.
There are not many cons of this system, but some reservations that still need to be put out there. First of all, these automated meters will not be prone to hacking, and any person with the professional hacking skills would be able to hack the system and tamper with the system. Moreover, there will be a waste of labor with the implementation of this system, line readers, and meter readers will lose their jobs, but this can also be avoided if the same meter readers are taught a new skillset to maintain these meters.
Lastly, this is a very good step for the betterment of the electricity industry.