MED was facing huge financial problems due to issues with electromechanical meters, unmetered points and poor billing and collection efficiency.

Abstract:
This article highlights the improvement achieved by Manipur State Electricity Department (MED) in revenue collection and reduction in peak load using pre-payment metering. This has helped the MED bridge the peak demand and supply gap and reduced their dependence on centrally generated power.

Manipur State Electricity Department (MED) has around 210,000 consumers and AT &C loss of 58%. The peak requirement of power for the year 2011-2012 was 170 MW – 180 MW against the availability of 30MW to 100MW.

Manipur State Government pays about Rs. 15 crore every month for the purchase of power from central power generators as the state has no generation capacity except one mini hydro-power project (600 KW) at Leimakhong in Senapati district and few diesel power houses and one 36 MW heavy fuel based plant in the region which cannot be operated due to the high cost of the fuel.

MED was facing huge financial problem due to issues in electromechanical meters, unmetered points and poor billing & collection efficiency. As the there were huge tampering in electromechanical meters, no logging of such events were there in the meter, there were issues related to coffee shop reading or meter not read. All the above compounded by poor billing and collection resulted in the state suffering huge revenue losses and reduced access to power to meet peak demand. So MED was not satisfied with the working of such meters and started searching to have some options which can improve revenue while ensuring the anti tamper features into the meter keeping less human intervention.

Looking into the above challenges MED decided to implement new metering technology which can help them to reduce load and improve revenue. In this, the concept of pre-payment metering was discussed with in MED keeping the benefits of the same into consideration. MED took the decision to deploy pre-payment metering in core Imphal area. After which the first prepayment tender in the year 2011 for the city of Imphal got published by MED for around 18000 prepaid meters.

The first phase of the deployment of pre-payment metering was in the central parts of core Imphal: Paona Bazar, Thangal Bazar, Khoyathong Road Majorkhul, Ragailong, Hafta, Golabati, Palace Compound, Babupara,RIMS Road, Lamphel Officers Colony. MED had to ensure that they could reap the benefits from this phase of the deployment, for this they had to engage the consumers and educate them on the newsystem.

Besides trying to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of electricity, checking theft of power was also necessary. This could be one way of bridging the shortfall of 80 MW to 90 MW (during peak demand in the winters). As a result, residents who had received just three hours of power in the daytime could hope to receive more. The pre-payment metering system has helped both the electricity suppliers and consumers in control power theft, a big step to ensure supply to legitimate customers.

After implementing pre-paid metering, the department is maintaining power supply for 24×7. Load / demand got reduced by about 40-45% due to energy consciousness amongst the consumer.

Also the revenue collection has gone up to about 2.5 to 3 times as compare to the earlier collections. There is a huge reduction in manpower cost as billing & collection has been automated in prepaid metering system. The billing & collection efficiency is now 100% for all prepaid consumers.

The power starved Manipur is the first state in the north-east to implement a pre-payment electricity metering system . Asa result of the implementation the state’s power scenario has changed. Now consumers receive scheduled / regular supply in the core Imphal area. The utility is able to manage its load profile and is receiving payments on time. It is also able to strengthen the electrical distribution systemaswell.

Looking at the benefits achieved, MED is planning to implement prepayment metering system in some more area of the state such as Greater Imphal and 12 other towns. Further to this MED may roll out the prepayment metering system across the state. Many of the other North Eastern States are also keen to implement about the system and have sent team of Senior engineers to see the implementation and benefits derived from the Prepayment Metering System by MED. There is also encouragement from Planning Commission for implementation for such kind of
innovative systems due to reduction in AT&C loss, load management & consumer satisfaction.