REC Limited, Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Limited and J-PAL South Asia enter agreement to evaluate smart metering programme in India’s Jammu region

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Photo: | Farknot Architect

Jammu, India—April 21, 2022: REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited), a public infrastructure finance company under the Ministry of Power, Government of India and Jammu Power Distribution Corporation Limited (JPDCL), have partnered with the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) South Asia to test the impact of smart electricity meters on improving consumer payments and electricity delivery in the Jammu region.

REC Limited, JPDCL and J-PAL South Asia will collaborate to leverage existing administrative data for exploring ways to reduce electricity theft and faulty billing. The insights gleaned from these analysis will inform the randomised evaluations led by professors part of J-PAL’s global network to evaluate the impact of smart meters on improving billing accuracy and on other features such as remote disconnections, prepaid metering, and online billing.

People living in low-to-middle income countries often receive erratic power supply and electricity theft and non-payment for use are widespread. Smart meters, which measure electricity consumption in real time and feed the data into a central system, are considered a potential solution to alleviate these problems.

This partnership builds on a data-sharing agreement signed between J-PAL South Asia and REC Limited in September 2021 to create an annual, data-based assessment of 79 public and private power distribution companies (DISCOMS) across the country for improving electricity access.

The agreement was signed during a ceremony with Managing Shiv Tayal (IAS), Director of JPDCL, R K Gupta, Chief General Manager of REC Limited, and Shobhini Mukerji, Executive Director of J-PAL South Asia.

Shobhini Mukerji, Executive Director, J-PAL South Asia said: “High-quality data combined with rigorous testing are essential for developing impactful policies. J-PAL South Asia's partnership with the Jammu Power Distribution Limited and REC will lead to an enhanced understanding of the impediments to reliable electricity delivery in the Jammu region as well as the most appropriate solutions to tackle them. This collaboration is an important first step towards bringing a systemic and lasting change in the power sector in the region.”

J-PAL South Asia will also conduct scoping studies to evaluate the effectiveness of innovative solutions targeted towards energy accounting and other reforms designed to improve power supply and reduce revenue losses.

J-PAL South Asia will provide JPDCL with technical research support, led by Professor Michael Greenstone (UChicago; J-PAL-affiliated Professor), Professor Robin Burgess (London School of Economics and Political Science; J-PAL-affiliated Professor), Professor Nicholas Ryan (Yale University; J-PAL-affiliated Professor) and Dr. Anant Sudarshan.

Research under this partnership is a part of J-PAL’s King Climate Action Initiative, which generates evidence and catalyses the scale-up of effective policy and technology solutions at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation.

Media Contact, J-PAL South Asia: Mr. Saptarishi Dutta, [email protected], +91-9958 168168

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