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LAHORE: The Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) is all set to introduce the smart / auto metering project in the Walled City, small industry and some posh areas under phase-I.

The company has started work on the preparation of tender / bidding document after getting a go-ahead from the Ministry of Energy (power division), it is learnt.

Under a pilot phase, the project called “Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI)” was introduced in Lahore on a small scale last year by replacing 18,000 electricity connections with smart meters in Faizpur, Rachna Town, Bilal Ganj, Sharaqpur, Angoori Bagh and Taj Bagh areas. The 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.

It is also a solution to get rid of over-billing as it eliminates the chances of wrong reading and corruption by officials as well as consumers.

“At a meeting held on Wednesday (March 21), the minister for power division directed Lesco and other power distribution companies to go for auto metering. The minister also asked the technical committee on AMI to finalise the tender / bidding documents,” a senior Lesco official told Dawn on Thursday.

Though the 4.2 million consumers (domestic, commercial, industrial, agriculture, tubewell etc) would ultimately go on auto metering under a phased AMI programme, the company, under phase-1, would introduce this in the old city, small industry, posh localities and those categorised as high consumption areas. Some tubewell areas / consumers are likely to be included in the phase-1.

The official said though the preparation of tender documents was sort of technical and time-taking job, the company would do its best to accomplish this task within a short period. And soon after completion of this job and award of project, the work under phase-1 would begin, he added.

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 implementation of the project was earlier delayed in Lesco and the Islamabad Electric Supply Company despite approval of soft loan of $1.4 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Of the total $1.4 billion soft loan for all Discos, US $400 million were 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, March 25th, 2018