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India to setup a Smart Meter Task Force:Sam Pitroda

According to reports, the Indian government is planning to set up a “Smart Meter Task Force” that will look into modernising the “primitive ways” of calculating power usage, tech czar Sam Pitroda said Monday.

“It is amazing to see how India – which is a super power in Information Technology – lags terribly in the power sector. It is really annoying to see our primitive ways of providing power – be it evacuation, grids, meters or even the way we manually calculate power consumption till date,” said Pitroda, advisor to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on public information infrastructure and innovations.

“All this has to change and it will change, for this decade has been declared by the government as the ‘Decade of Innovation’,” he said.

Pitroda, who also heads the Indian Smart Grid Task Force, was speaking at the inaugural session of GridWeek Asia 2012 organised by Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA).

According to Pitroda, the government reckons that India needs 100 million meters and towards this end, the Smart Meter Task Force will be entrusted the task of introducing low cost meters, costing between Rs.1,000 to Rs.1,500.

“We need a 2-chip meter that can be connected through GSM technology. Basically a dumb meter that is smart enough. These low-cost meters will feed critical data into the smart grids that are considered to be the panacea for our primitive power sector,” Pitroda added.

He said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government has also set up $1 billion venture fund to foster innovation across sectors states.

“We have set up a national innovation centre that will oversee state innovation centres and 100 sectoral innovation houses. Today, I personally think that power is our biggest bottleneck for 8 percent GDP growth. It is a larger challenge that many of us don’t realise, considering that power has to reach to the bottom of the pyramid and that too, cheap power,” he said.

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