EghtesadOnline: An estimated 4,500 energy-intensive agricultural units and households have been equipped with smart electricity meters (known as Faham in Persian) in the mountainous province of Kordestan, head of the provincial power company said.
"The agriculture sector accounts for 50% of the installed digital meters as it is a priority," Hiva Lahvenian was quoted as saying by the Energy Ministry news portal on Monday.
Of the 4,500 hi-tech devices, about 3,000 have been installed in the last four months and 2,250 agricultural wells are being equipped with the gadgets in the region.
Most wells are equipped with the new system, helping utilities efficiently monitor water use, he said, noting that the advanced meters are being promoted for economic and environmental reasons, namely to cut costs and consumption, according to Financial Tribune.
A smart meter is an electricity meter that digitally sends meter readings to utilities and also has monitors so that users too can see and adjust their consumption.
According to the Energy Ministry, the government-affiliated Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) installed 307,000 smart meters in agriculture sector last year in Tehran, Mashhad, Ahvaz, Zanjan and Isfahan.
"A total of 400,000 old analog meters were replaced with digital gadgets in agricultural, household and commercial units in 2018 as part of the [Faham] project," Hadi Modaqeq, the plan's operator said.
SATKAB, a subsidiary of the Energy Ministry, signed a contract with Tavanir in July to produce 100,000 meters in two months.
The official went on to say that installation of five million meters has started and the job is expected to end in two years if financial issues are addressed.
According to reports, the project requires $70 million and talks are underway with private firms to join and invest in the project.
Underscoring the importance of the initiative, he said the new system helped save 3,000 MW in the past two months.
Modaqeq said the new meters helped save 1,000 MW of electricity in 2017 when the number of new meters barely stood at 100,000.
Agricultural wells and industrial units are expected to be equipped with the system before other sectors and subscribers whose monthly consumption is below 30 kilowatts are at the bottom end of the priority list.
Smart metering systems put a permanent end to the manual meter reading that was vulnerable to technical error and loss.
Thanks to the new gadget, subscribers are updated about daily use.
Referring to the other plus points, the official said the advanced infrastructure provides a far greater [and detailed] feedback regarding energy use and helps consumers adjust. It also helps reduce blackouts and electricity failures.
Although smart meters can provide quick, accurate measurements of electricity use while eliminating the need for home visits by meter readers, there are concerns that they are collecting unnecessary information about hourly electricity use. This collection of data could, potentially, be a violation of users' privacy.