India has cancelled a smart meter contract awarded to Indonesia-based PT Hexing for 2 million units following concerns over its Chinese ownership, and for failing to meet the criteria for local manufacturing, said a top executive of state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL).

PT Hexing is said to be owned by Hangzhou-headquartered Hexing Electrical Co.

EESL, which is implementing the world’s largest smart metering programme in India, had earlier put the contract on hold. PT Hexing had won the tender for 2 million units around two years ago. Now, EESL plans to call snap bids for 3 million smart meters.

The move follows the government’s decision to restrict firms from countries with a shared land border from participating in bids for government procurement, without approval from competent authorities. “We have cancelled the bid because they did not meet tender conditions of manufacturing the meters in India, which was part of the bid conditions,” said Saurabh Kumar, managing director, EESL. “We are shortly coming up with a snap bid for 3 million meters.”

EESL is a joint venture between NTPC Ltd, Rural Electrification Corp. Ltd, Power Finance Corp. Ltd and Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd. The government plans to convert all electricity meters into smart prepaid meters by 2022.

Of the total order, PT Hexing has so far supplied around 10,000 meters from its Indonesia facility. Of around 1.6 million smart meters supplied by EESL to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi, 1.4 million have been supplied by Genus Power Infrastructures Ltd. The remaining were supplied by ITI, and Larsen and Toubro.

PT Hexing could not be contacted for comments.

EESL’s smart meter programme plans to replace 250 million conventional meters that will help increase debt laden discoms’ annual revenues to 1.38 trillion. Besides, India’s proposed 3.5 trillion distribution reform scheme to cut electricity losses below 12% starts with smart meters.

Earlier, Uttar Pradesh Power Corp. Ltd had scrapped a consignment of Chinese smart meters, which were being procured by EESL.

A smart meter architecture requires a two-way communication network, control centre equipment and software applications, which enable near real-time gathering and transfer of energy usage details. The government is cautious about such equipment running the risk of being infected by a malware.

News Source: Livemint


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