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Ministry of Power begins process to set up JV for smart meters

Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020
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The Ministry of Power has begun the process to set up Rs 2,000 crore joint venture for providing a Common Backend Infrastructure Facility (CBIF) to power distribution companies (discoms).

The JV will help in faster roll-out of smart electricity meters in the country. It will have four promoters, NTPC, REC, the Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) and the Power Finance Corporation (PFC). These firms are under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power.

The boards of PFC and REC have approved equity investment of Rs 150 crore each in the joint venture for CBIF according to regulatory filings.

The Board of Directors in its meeting held on 14 September 2020 has accorded its approval for infusion of equity of Rs 150 crore in a JV company to be promoted jointly by NTPC, PGCIL, REC and PFC for setting up CBIF.

The boards of NTPC and PGCIL are yet to approve the equity investments of Rs 150 crore each in the joint venture. There will be equity investment of Rs 600 crore by the four promoters and the debt component would be of Rs 1,400 crore.

CBIF will enable the fast-track implementation of smart meters across the country. It will simplify smart meter rollout for discoms by offering plug and play architecture with standardised, pre-configured, pre-integrated, scalable back-end infra for rollout of smart meters.

There will be an ease of scalability, avoiding asset duplication and flexibility to discoms in installing smart meters in a phase-wise manner, wherein the Meter Data Management (MDM) services can be expanded on the basis of requirement.

Discoms will be required to pay only for use of the asset without incurring additional capex, along with features of built in upgrades, which would lead to cost reductions and savings to discoms.

CBIF will also enable centralised MIS or reporting of metering data. The facility will be offered to discoms on a software or solution as a service approach and charge only usage fees.

The consulting arm of PFC, PFC Consulting, will facilitate the creation and  operationalisation of this joint venture company.

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