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LAHORE: The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) has decided to expand the scope of the smart metering project -- Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI).

Having completed the ‘pilot project’ launched last year by replacing the meters of 18,000 consumers in various sub-divisions/areas including Faizpur, Rachna Town, Bilal Ganj, Sharaqpur, Angoori Bagh and Taj Bagh, the company plans to expand the project and cover small industry and tubewell consumers.

The first-of-its-kind project aims to facilitate the consumers in knowing about meter reading anytime of the day, even on an hourly or a half hourly basis, instead of a month besides enabling the power distribution companies to automatically receive the monthly reading of consumers.

“The main issue is over-billing and smart metering is the only solution to the issue as it eliminates the chances of wrong reading and corruption by officials as well as consumers,” Lesco’s Chief Executive Officer Mujahid Chattha told Dawn on Thursday.

In the phase-1, Mr Chattha said, Lesco desired to replace the meters of the small industry and tubewells in Lahore and Kasur with smart ones.

“There is a plan to introduce the AMI system at 20,000 to 25,000 small industrial and tubewell sites. It is a unique project since it makes the work of both the consumers and the officials easier. The smart meters automatically transfer the reading data to the control room (main server) on the exact meter reading dates and times, enabling the officials to quickly process and serve the bills to the consumers. The system also allows the company to receive and check reading on a daily basis,” the CEO explained.

He said since the AMI expansion plan required approval of the supreme body, the Lesco administration would present this before its Board of Directors (BoD) soon.

The implementation of the project was earlier delayed in Lesco and the Islamabad Electric Supply Company despite the fact that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had approved $1.4 billion soft loan for all Discos ($ 400 million for Lesco and IESCO). The project agreement was signed in Islamabad in November 2016 under the bank’s Power Distribution Enhancement Investment Program (PDEIP) MFF-II, Tranche-1. Later, the federal government decided not to get the loan and advised the Discos to launch the pilot projects within their own financial resources. IESCO also executed the pilot project at its Rawalpindi circle.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2018