KEPCO Senior Manager Jeong Fm (centre left) and CEB Deputy General Manager Research and Development Eng. Ronald F. Comester shake hands while the representatives of the two organisations look on
Pic by Nimalsiri Edirisinghe
By Shabiya Ali Ahlam
Sri Lanka’s electricity sector is in the midst of embarking on a massive technological advancement journey with the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) looking to expand its smart metering pilot project, after a successful test run carried out at two locations.
With the preliminary test that began in 2017 being successful, the CEB yesterday announced it would be expanding the smart metering installation project to other regions.
The pilot project, funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) with an aid of US $ 0.64 million and carried out in collaboration with a consortium led by Electro Metal Pressings (Pvt.) Ltd, was initially executed by the CEB Katunayake and Lanka Electricity Company (LECO) Negombo, where 500 customers from each location were selected to establish the viability of the smart metering system. The CEB shared that following the successful implementation of the project in the 1,000 selected households in the Katunayake and Negombo areas, the installation will be expanded to 10,000 households, where the reach would be extended to Dehiwela and eventually the entire Western Province.
The expansion project will be carried out with an implementation cost of US $ 3.3 million.
CEB Deputy General Manager Research and Development Eng. Ronald F. Comester said one of the objectives of exploring the smart metering system is to encourage customers to voluntarily reduce their electricity consumption by being mindful of their usage.
“The smart metering will allow consumers to gain a fine and detailed insights on their consumption pattern, which can be used to reduce wastage and even identify and reduce electricity theft. This system, after a thorough study of other options, was selected as it is deemed viable in the local context,” Comester told reporters in Colombo, last evening.
He added that the objective of the project is to implement advanced functionalities of smart meters associated to demand-side management, while identifying appropriate smart meter technologies and functionalities for the next smart metering pilot project in tranche II and other future mass roll-out smart meter projects in Sri Lanka.
The smart metering option was selected over ‘thermal cooling’ and ‘smart building’. Smart metering is expected to help collect accurate and timely energy data for a future billing system with the facility of remote disconnection and automatic reconnection functions.
The CEB stressed that the existing electromechanical meters will not be removed and kept for billing purposes until tranche II of the project is executed.
While a group of international and local experts were appointed to prepare the specifications of the project, providing technical know-how and expertise is Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), an organisation that has been in operation for over a century and has branched across the world.
The CEB said all costs associated with the replacement of the currently used electromechanical meters with the smart meters would be absorbed by the CEB and not be passed on to the consumers.
It was pointed out that the islandwide installation of net metering would take about 10 to 15 years from 2020.