Vinod Raphael, Country Business Head, Omron Electronic & Mechanical Components Business, India spoke to BE’s Aritra Mitra about curbing power theft in India.
Q) How have your inventions helped to curb power theft in India?
A) In order to live up to our mission of “To improve lives and contribute to a better society”, OMRON strives to address social issues by creating solutions based on “Sensing and control + think” technology.
Power theft is one of the most ungovernable challenges faced by the power distribution utilities affecting sustainable availability of electricity round the clock at the right cost. OMRON’s Tamper Detection solutions (Sensors and AC Latching Relays) address the pressing need of finding a long term solution to the perpetual challenge of power theft caused by tampering of meters. The solutions enable the utilities to not only detect and track all key types of tampering in homes and commercial buildings, but also disconnect the power supply remotely and appropriately if tampering is observed.
Some of the notable facts about the OMRON Tamper Detection Sensor are: it registers real-time data on all kinds of tampering with its intensity and type, saves it in the meter and if need be, sends the information to the central server to which the smart meter is connected. We can say that it provides artificial intelligence to the smart meters making them indirectly Total Tamper Evident.
Q) Can you provide us with examples that show the impact of your products on the power sector?
A) Here is a graphical look of the causes of the AT&C losses faced by the discoms. It indicates that a major chunk is contributed by meter tampering and hooking.
With OMRON sensors, we are helping the utilities gain a better understanding of power losses due to meter tampering and hooking and take corrective actions to achieve India’s loss reduction targets as shown below:
Q) Who are your clients?
A) Since the solutions go inside smart meters which are an important part of a smart grid, we are striving to reach out to two of the key stakeholders - meter makers and utilities (both in the government and the private sector). For India, smart meters present one of the most effective ways to address billing inefficiencies that are contributing a lot to the losses and debt burden of the power distribution companies. It can act as a deterrent in the smart meters to stop tampering and create a better ethical energy society.
The government led smart meter roll-out has gained steam now (with pilot projects being executed in various states in India).