EghtesadOnline: An estimated 3,000 energy-intensive agricultural units and households have been equipped with smart electricity meters (known as Faham in Persian) in the mountainous province of East Azarbaijan since 2016, head of the provincial power company said.
"The agro sector has the biggest share of the new meters and it remains a priority," Adel Kazemi was quoted as saying by the Energy Ministry news portal on Saturday.
Close to 5,000 more units are being equipped with the metering devices in the region, he said, adding that the gadgets are being promoted for economic and environmental reasons, namely to cut costs and consumption.
A smart meter is a device that digitally sends meter readings to utilities and has monitors so that users too can see and adjust their consumption, according to Financial Tribune.
According to the Energy Ministry, the government-affiliated Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) installed 307,000 smart meters for farming units in or near Tehran, Mashhad, Ahvaz, Zanjan and Isfahan.
According to Hadi Modaqeq, the plan’s director, the second phase of the program is underway and five million energy-intensive farming, housing and commercial units will get the gadgets within two years.
"First phase of the plan began in 2014 and so far 100,000 agro wells have been equipped with the system," Modaqeq was quoted as saying by ISNA.
The agriculture sector will again have priority in the second phase because placing the new system on wells helps the Energy Ministry efficiently monitor water use.
He said the new meters helped save 1,000 MW of electricity in 2017 when the number of new meters was barely 100,000.
Contract for 5 Million Meters
Regarding an agreement between Tavanir and SATKAB, a subsidiary of the Energy Ministry, the official said it calls for the production and installation of five million smart meters in the agro, industrial, commercial and household sectors within two years.
The company has made a commitment to deliver 100,000 meters by January.
SATKAB provides investment and consultancy to the water, power and wastewater industries.
Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian has said that programs like Faham are temporary solutions to help cut consumption and much more needs to be done to institutionalize the culture of consuming energy wisely.
Consumption of water, electricity, natural gas and gasoline in Iran is among the highest in the world and has become a serious source of concern, especially when it comes to water and the crisis that this has created.
Persistent appeals by economic experts, environmentalists and climatologists for cutting consumption and improving management in the four key sectors have had very little, if any, impact so far.