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EghtesadOnline: Five million energy-intensive agricultural, household and commercial units will be equipped with smart electricity meters during the second phase of the National Smart Metering Program (known as Faham in Persian).

Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian made the statement Sunday in Tehran in a ceremony to sign a contract between government-affiliated Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) and SATKAB, a subsidiary of the Energy Ministry, to complete the second phase of the plan in two years.

The signing ceremony was attended by Mohammad Hassan Motavalizadeh, Tavanir's managing director, and SATKAB's CEO, Mohammad Vali Aladdini, the Energy Ministry reported.

The agreement entails production and installation of five million smart meters in the agro, industrial, commercial and household sectors in the next two years. The company is obliged to deliver 100,000 meters in two months, Financial Tribune reported.

SATKAB specializes in providing investment and consultation to water, power and wastewater industries.

He said the first phase of the scheme included building infrastructure and equipping 450,000 agricultural subscribers with government funding that was completed by Tavanir in 2018. 

Equipping wells with the new system can help the ministry efficiently monitor water extraction, he added, noting that one million energy-intensive households and commercial units were also equipped with smart meters in the past 12 months.

A smart meter is a modern electricity meter that digitally sends meter readings to energy suppliers. It ensures accurate energy bills. Smart meters also come with monitors so that users can see and better understand their consumption.

"Smart metering systems put a permanent end to the manual meter reading that was vulnerable to technical error and loss," he said. 

Thanks to the new gadget, subscribers are informed about their daily use.

Utilities in many developed and developing countries are promoting advanced electricity meters for economic and environmental reasons, namely to cut costs and reduce consumption.

The new meters helped save 1,000 megawatts in 2017.



Paradigm Shift

According to the minister, programs like Faham are temporary solutions to curb consumption and a lot more needs to be done to institutionalize the culture of consuming energy wisely.

"We need a complete paradigm shift to encourage consumers change their consumption patterns," he added, noting that increasing people's awareness can and will be effective, but will not yield the desired results.

Due to the huge energy subsidies, Iran is one of the most energy inefficient countries with energy intensity three times higher than the global average and 2.5 times the Middle East average.

Energy intensity is a measure of the energy efficiency calculated as units of energy per unit of gross domestic product. High energy intensities indicate a high price or cost of converting energy into GDP and vice versa.

Roads and urban development, energy plus industries, mines and trade ministries along with the agricultural and petrochemical sectors are top energy consumers.

Electricity consumption reached a peak of 56,000 megawatts last month, the highest in the current fiscal year that started in March and close to the 55,500-MW registered in fiscal 2017. 

Electricity demand is forecast to surpass 58,000 MW during the next few days as the mercury soars (37°C  moving to 50 Centigrade in the south).

Network load reached 58,000 megawatts during peak hours in the last fiscal and is expected to surpass 61 gigawatts this summer.


Iran Smart Electricity Meters Faham Smart Meter Program