The article aims to assess the necessity of smart electricity for manifestation of smart city. - Dr. Sarat Kumar Sahoo

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Electric power is a fundamental element of any city and smart electricity plays a substantial role in manifestation of a smart city. A smart city is equipped with smart grids which ease collection of date of every individual and transferring those data to the utility without any manual intervention. The government of India named 20 states that will be aided Rs 50,802 crore in next five years, smart cities aim to maintain basic infrastructure with the best quality and 100 per cent efficiency. These states will be benefitted by information and communication (ICT) based initiative such as zero loss monitored by smart meters, LED street lighting and city beautification.

The idea of smart city was initiated aiming optimised use of available resources such as roads, building and infrastructure, energy and healthcare. Smart electricity deals with uninterrupted supply of quality power, monitoring power loss and record the real time data of the energy provided to various building, industries and commercial spaces. Smart electricity is the modern vision of integrating the conventional T&D system with internet of things which would focus towards sustainable and comprehensive development. Installation of smart grid has shown an exponential growth since 2012. Also 23 per cent of total share of budget of smart city is diverted towards energy which reveals the future of smart electricity in all smart cities.

Installations of smart meters grew 22 per cent annually from 2012 to 570 million units in 2016. It is expected to cross 15 billion by end of 2020.

Proper utilisation of renewable energy to produce power will make zero polluting and self-sustaining cities. A city can be called smart only if quality of living for its citizen enhances. For smart electricity, we need more distributed, more interconnected and more intelligent infrastructure. Using distributed generation will personalise the energy usage and consumption, and because of bidirectional nature of distributed generation the electricity would now be a form of trade. The concept of smart homes defines of a well-designed connector for power transfer between the home and the utility. The smart home which is enabled with a smart meter continuously keep track of energy production and energy usage.

It is beyond imagination how much the life will be easier after implementation of smart cities, but certainly the complexity of the resources used would increase. The problem with a large number of modern-day consumers, that they expect energy at cheaper price. We can see a different scenario in next five years, as the amount of distributed generation might exceed the centralised generation. The information and data needed by the system will be easier to access and will be more relevant. For this to happen, the connectivity between the conventional system and distributed system will be critical.

Another component which will be into limelight in smart electricity will be use of batteries in storing electricity which is produced in surplus during distributed generation. The excess energy produced can be stored using battery banks without trading back to the utility. Batteries are used to provide a backup power supply for the real time clock present in smart meter.

Smart city development boards of different countries are aiming setting up of Smart integrated infrastructure which will be a convergence of physical infrastructure, communication, data and analytics. These arrangements will look for greater efficiency and greater steadiness, and to give best performance when connected with distributed generation units.

India has shown tremendous growth in field of implementation of solar energy, this will limit our dependence on use of fossil & fuels and also will reduce demand on the utility. India has climbed up to twenty- sixth position in world electricity accessibility ranking in the current year from 99th spot in 2014.

Case Study

Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) has taken a world-shattering initiative to developing smart grid pilot project at Puducherry. Real time monitoring of energy consumption pattern, various alarms associated with it, etc. have been made possible with AMI system installed at Puducherry. Under this project various smart grid attributes have already been implemented and are being scaled up in a progressive manner. Presently, more than 1,600 smart meters at consumer’s premises along with Data Concentrator Units (DCU) and Meter Data Management system (MDMS) have been integrated at one common platform at smart grid control centre at Puducherry.

A demonstration model of demand response has also been set up at Puducherry. It would facilitate customer to receive utility signal and to respond for demand management. In addition, efficient street light automation system has been implemented for 126 nos. of street light which has resulted into reduction of energy consumption for street lightening by about 57 per cent.

Challenges in Smart Electricity

– Data traffic occurs because the size and amount of data collected is very large, traffic here means congestion which causes misleading of data and produce error in the system.

– Ever-increasing volume of sensors and their data, increases the complexity of the system, which further leads to maloperation of system and difficult at time of recovery.

– Digital security is another threat smart electricity faces when they try to implement smart city projects. As personal data gets uploaded into the cloud, it is often shared with digital devices, which, in turn, share the information among multiple users.

Merits of Smart Electricity

– The need for smart grids can be due to environmental, rising energy demands and rising fuel cost.

– Energy wastage can be minimised and billing can be more efficient.

– Electricity theft can be curtailed and customer end can be remotely controlled.

– Power quality will be enhanced and per unit cost will be lessened.

Initiatives by Government for Smart Electricity

– A joint venture of the Delhi government and Tata power is set to install smart meters and also launch a mobile app for android. At first, 2.5 lakh smart meters would be installed in North and North-west Delhi.

– 280 million LED bulbs were sold under the UJALA scheme resulting in a saving of Rs 14,618 crore.

– USTDA has given grant to explore and develop opportunities in the areas of rooftop solar energy, energy storage systems and smart vehicles.

– Five projects have been sanctioned under National Smart Grid Mission

– CED, Chandigarh(Sub Division 5)

– CED, Chandigarh(complete city excluding sub Div 5)

– KSEB, Thiruvanthapuram (Kochi)

– JBVNL, Jharkhand (Ranchi)

– OPTCL, Odisha (Rourkela).


Concerning the emerging end-use technologies, it seems to be clear that smart electricity will play an important role in the future. Its penetration in different countries will increase in the next 10-20 years. Main obstacle is still the price of the components involved which still seems to remain in quite at high level although there is potential for decrease during the next five years. Cost benefit analyses shows that smart metering is in most case economically feasible if the benefits to all stakeholders and to society is taken into account.

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