France’s EDF looks to raise $100 mn to expand smart meter biz

EDF is active in three sectors in India—nuclear, renewables and services, according to the company website.
EDF is active in three sectors in India—nuclear, renewables and services, according to the company website.

Summary

  • The French government-owned company is looking to bid for smart meter contracts in major cities across India

French government-owned utility services provider Électricité de France SA (EDF) is looking to raise more than $100 million for its smart meter platform, three people with knowledge of the development said.

The company is looking to bid for contracts in major cities across India, the first person cited above said.

“A few strategics and climate funds have been reached out to. It is still early days. The deal is likely to be closed in the first quarter of next calendar year," the second person said.

In 2019, EDF was chosen by state-run Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) for putting up five million smart meters in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. This contract was awarded to EDF in association with Accenture Solutions Private Ltd (India). It has so far installed more than 200,000 meters so far.

The firm designs an advanced metering infrastructure, installs smart meters across India, integrates the smart meters with existing billing system of electricity distribution companies as well as operation and maintenance of the whole system for a period of six-and-a-half years, as per the contract.

EDF is active in three sectors in India—nuclear, renewables and services, according to the company website. In the nuclear space, EDF is involved in the development of a nuclear power plant in Jaitapur, Maharashtra. In the renewable energy segment, it has a 2.84 GW of renewable energy portfolio including solar and wind power projects along with developing three solar photovoltaic module plants through its joint venture EDEN Renewables India.

Emailed queries sent to the EDF spokesperson went unanswered.

India’s smart metering ambition has seen a lot of interest from local as well as global players. Last week Mint reported Eversource, the joint venture between Everstone Capital and Lightsource is looking at setting up a smart meter platform. In July, the Singapore government’s sovereign wealth fund GIC said it has tied up with Genus Power & Infrastructures Ltd to set up a platform to fund smart metering projects and has around $2 billion worth of initial pipeline.

Creating a smart meter architecture minimises human intervention in metering, billing and collection process and helps reduce theft by identifying pockets of losses.

The government has targeted setting up prepaid smart meters in the country in a bid to ensure financial discipline in the power sector. In a recent written reply to the parliament, the Union minister for power RK Singh said energy accounting and timely collection of dues from government departments, among others, are essential for improving operational and financial efficiency of power distribution companies (discom), and accordingly prepaid smart metering project for government departments and retail consumers have been envisaged to be undertaken on priority as per RDSS guidelines.

Under the /3 trillion Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS), the Centre aims to install 250 million smart meters by March 2025. It has so far sanctioned 222.26 million prepaid consumers smart meters for deployment across states and Union territories, out of which only 7.92 million have been installed as on 13 December, according to data from the National Smart Grid Mission dashboard.

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