Adani Electricity Mumbai (AEML) on Tuesday said it is investing Rs 500 crore to install smart meters for seven lakh consumers in the financial capital by the end of 2023.

The power discom, a unit of the listed Adani Transmission, said the 7 lakh smart meters is the first phase target and the remaining 20 lakh consumers will get smart meters by the end of FY25.

It has installed 1.10 lakh of such smart meters, and the remaining 5.90 lakh will be done by 2023-end to finish the first phase, chief operating officer Kapil Sharma told reporters.

The meters will help consumers to get real-time updates on power consumption, and also enable the company to improve its collection efficiency in case of non-payment as it can disconnect a meter remotely, Sharma said.

Each unit of the smart meter costs up to Rs 1,000 extra, but the savings in the operating expenses accruing over time outweigh the costs borne upfront, the company’s managing director and chief executive Kandarp Patel said.

The cost of the additional expenditure will have to be borne by the customers finally, but the energy bill hikes will be “insignificant” given the advantages of such meters, Patel said.

The Rs 500 crore capital expenditure is being done through internal accruals and the company has no plans for any equity infusion, Patel said.

The company, which has been operating for the last four years following the Rs 18,000-crore acquisition of Reliance Energy from Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, has been investing up to Rs 1,500 crore per annum in various technology and network improvement initiatives every year, Patel said.

He said it plans to continue with the same rate of investments for the next two years as well, and will then take a considered call on the requirements later.

It has not been able to increase its market share over the last four years, and hopes that initiatives on the services front will help it, Patel said. On Tuesday, it introduced a video chat facility for consumers, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot and also kiosk machines for bill payments.

Patel urged the government to introduce the changes in discom regulations, which can allow companies like his to expand into other areas beyond the ones it serves right now, and also added that it is working on other initiatives in parallel.

It plans to install 8,500 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by investing Rs 32 crore, he said, adding that work on the home automation front is also on.

Patel said the Kharghar-Vikhroli transmission line project is now going at the desired pace and it should be commissioned by May next year. PTI AA BAL BAL

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