India is experiencing rapid growth and
expansion of its cities. Indian cities contribute 2/3rd of the
economy, are major recipients of Foreign Direct Investments and originators of
innovation and technology. Indian cities are projected to grow in population
from 282 million to 590 million people as a result of migration of people from
rural areas to cities in search of economic opportunities (Worldbank, 2011). Meeting the needs
of the growing urban population will require strategic policy making at the
national, regional and state levels. The rapid pace of urbanization would pose
a challenge for cities in terms of provision of essential infrastructure such
as housing, water and sanitation and urban transport which would involve heavy
capital investments. The need of the hour is to have well-managed cities which
offer high quality of services to its citizens.
In pursuance of the goal of improving the
quality of life for people in cities, the Government of India launched the
Smart Cities Mission
1.1.1 What is a smart city?
The smart cities mission
was launched in 2015 under the aegis of the Ministry of Urban Development. The
mission envisioned the development of 100 smart cities with a focus on making
them citizen friendly and sustainable. The objective of the mission is to
develop cities with core infrastructure that provides a decent quality of life
to citizens, clean and sustainable environment and application of smart
solutions which is an essential character of a smart city. However, the
definition of a smart city varies from place to place depending on the willingness
to change and resources and aspirations of the city residents. The core
infrastructure elements that are described refer to the following;
Adequate water supply
Assured electricity supply
Sanitation, including solid
Efficient urban mobility and
Affordable housing, especially
for the poor
Robust it connectivity and
Good governance, especially
e-governance and citizen participation
Safety and security of
citizens, particularly women, children and the elderly
Health and education
1.1.2 Smart Solutions
‘Smart’ Solutions refer to the usage of
information technology and data to improve infrastructure and services with an
aim to improve the quality of life, provide employment opportunities for all
and encourage inclusive development of cities (Sumpena, 2016). Smart solutions have been provided in different areas of development
such as urban mobility, waste management, water management, energy management
Figure 1 Smart Solutions
Smart solutions in the energy and water
management sectors propose the usage of smart grids to promote efficiency in
the provision of water and electric supply.
1.1.3 Smart Water Grid
smart grid is a concept which promotes the integration of information and
communication technology in the management of water distribution networks.
Sensors, digital controls and analytical tools are utilised to automate,
monitor and control the transmission and distribution of water to efficiently
deliver good quality water to the consumer. Digitization and automation enable
remote collection of data and transmission to a central system for analysis and
monitoring. The large pools of data collected enable predictive analysis and
efficiency in operations and management (Public Utilities Board Singapore, 2016).
solution was described by Sensus (2012a) as consisting of five layers. The
first layer is a set of measurement and sensing devices (electromagnetic and
acoustic). They collect data and help identify any abnormalities in the system.
The second layer consists of communication channels which continuously gather
information from the first layer and transmit them over wireless networks. Once
the data is collected, it has to be presented in a manner that is legible and
articulate. The data is presented in form of spreadsheets, piecharts, mapping
and other visualization tools. The fourth layer is the real time data analysis
and modelling software, the purpose of these is to extract information from the
collected data such as detecting consumption patterns, discerning between false
alarms and genuine concerns. All these strategies will help the utility to act
efficiently to any future scenarios. The last layer is the water network
solution, which ties with the second layer of communication channels and
includes automation and control tools. It enables the utility to remotely
measure and mange devices in the network. (Martyusheva, 2014).
Smart Water Grid provides the following benefits to the Utility
Real time Monitoring of Assets for preventative maintenance. With
advanced sensing technologies data on assets conditions can be used to prepare
a replacement and rehabilitation schedule in order to replace the right pipe at
the right time.
Real time monitoring of pressure and water quality – Data from sensors
and meters can enable detection of leaks in the network, monitoring of water
quality conditions and alerts when there is a risk of water contamination.
Automated valve operations enable shutting off of valves in case of flooding,
water loss and spreading of contaminated water.
Real time information on consumption patterns with respect to water
can encourage consumers to adopt water conservation measures. It enables the
consumers to make informed choices regarding water conservation measures in
their homes and utilities to predict the water demand and the quantity of water
to be treated and pumped.(Public Utilities Board Singapore, 2016)
1.1.4 What is a smart meter?
important part of a Smart Water Grid are smart meters. Smart Meters are
electronic devices which record the consumption of electricity, water or gas in
intervals of an hour or less and enable two way communication between the
consumer and the utility. The smart meter has been proposed to replace the
accumulation meter to get more accurate readings through more efficient methods
of water flow detection. It could help consumers monitor their
consumption and understand how they can save resources efficiently. The meters
interact with the consumer through smart phone applications, website or in-home
display units which shows the consumer their consumption in real time. The
feedback on consumption received by the consumer can promote conservation
behaviour through proper implementation of design principles.
Metering refers to both Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and Advanced metering
Infrastructure (AMI). AMR refers to the automated collection of meter readings
through radio transmission which prevents the need for physical inspection (Blom, Cox, & Raczka, 2010).
Meter Reading (AMR) – This is a method of collecting meter readings through
radio transmitted signals. This method is considered to be faster than the
conventional method of meter reading. Using the technology utility reader can
drive by residences to collect the water consumption readings. The meter can
detect if the water is being used continuously which is an indicator of a leak
in the system. It has the capability to notify the consumer and prevent high
bills for the end user (Martyusheva, 2014).
Metering Infrastructure (AMI) –
advantages for the consumer and the utility are as follows.
for the utility
eliminates the need for monthly manual readings of meters. Enables the utility
to propose dynamic pricing based on demand. Due to the reduction in demand
brought about by the pricing mechanisms and increased awareness of the consumer
towards water consumption provided by feedbacks, the need for capital
investment is deferred. As smart meters
capture the consumption data accurately they contribute to an increase in
revenue for the utilities particularly the ones which are facing a large
percentage of non-revenue water.
for the Consumer
enables the consumer to receive detailed data on their consumption through interfaces
such as smart phone applications, websites or in-home display devices. This
feedback on consumption enables the consumer to adopt water conservation
measures and reduce their consumption thereby resulting in savings for the
1.1.5 Need for a Smart Water Meter in India
2 Water Stress (Gupta, Mishra, Bokde, & Kulat, 2016)
significant issue which urban water utilities around the globe face is the increasing
share of unaccounted for water. The issues stems from the fact that not all the
water supplied by the utility reaches the consumer and not all the water
reached by them is measured and billed for payment (Thornton, 2002).
Non-revenue water is described as the difference between the quantity of water
supplied and the metered quantity of water consumed. There are different forms
of non-revenue water of which water loss through distribution systems is one
component. The water loss through distribution systems causes a significant
loss in revenue to utilities and therefore is highly significant. Occurrence of unaccounted for water in a water distribution system
has been attributed to three main sources: leakage from pipes, thefts and
overflows, improper recording of consumed water by meters, illegal connections and
under-registration of water meters (Sastry, 2006). Water leakages are extremely hard to detect as they can be in the
pipes underground. In developing countries where automation to detect leakages
is not mainstream, utilities have to rely on reports from local people if the
leak is visible. Leakages not only reduce the revenue of utilities but also
deteriorate the efficiency, pressure and quality of water supply (Gupta et al., 2016).
city of Bangalore has the second highest rate of non-revenue water (49%) after
Kolkata. The population of Bangalore is around 8.5 million people and ideally
every person should get 150lpcd of water per day. However, in the current
scenario the average citizen in Bangalore gets only 65litres of water per day.
The situation is likely to worsen as the water demand in the city is expected
to be three times more than supply over the decade (Saldanha, 2017). Another issue is
that the level of awareness among citizens with respect to water conservation
of information and communication technology in water distribution and billing
can transform the water demand and consumption significantly in addition to
being useful in detecting leakages. In India, old mechanical meters are used
which involve labour costs to collect meter reading. The process is time
consuming and the reliability of the data is low. To overcome these challenges
smart meters are replacing conventional meters in Europe and North America. Smart
meter are used to calculate average and peak demand which assists in
maintaining pressure in the system resulting in reduced leakage. Wireless
communication of meter readings lowers the labour costs for meter reading and
aids in detection of leakages effectively (Gupta et al., 2016)
1.1.6 Current scenario of smart metering in India
Water utilities are plagued with issues such as water theft and high percentage
of non-revenue water. India’s average non-revenue water rate is around 34%
which is significantly higher than the global average of 28%. To address these
problems, Indian utilities have adopted Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
Two authorities that are trialling AMI are Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage
Board (BWSSB) and Kerala Water Utility (KWA).
utilities are using IBM’s Big Data and Predictive Analytics Technology to
manage distribution networks to meet the increasing water demand in the face of
water scarcity. In Bengaluru, the population growth from 5.4 million to 10
million has put tremendous pressure on the city’s water distribution. This has
been the driving factor behind BWSSB’s move to partner with IBM for an
operational dashboard to monitor, administer and manage its water distribution
this, the development of smart city projects has been progressing at a slow
rate and large scale roll-out of smart water meters is not expected until the
In India, pilot projects for smart electric grids have been initiated in many
cities but so far none have looked into smart water metering.
Bangalore where there is an acute water shortage, many apartment complexes are
turning to smart water meters to reduce their dependency on tanker suppled water
which has seen prices soar in the past few years.
1.1.7 International Experiences of Smart Meter Roll outs
study of Smart meter Roll-outs – As the deployment of smart water meters have
been few, the case study of smart meter roll-outs will also include the
deployment of smart electric meters which have been more widely adopted than
smart water meters.
– Sweden was one of the first countries to have a large scale roll-out of smart
electric meters. In 2003, Swedish legislation required that accurate monthly
invoices based on actual meter reading be generated for all consumers. This
legislation sought to address the prevalent dissatisfaction among residential
consumers regarding inaccurate invoices, data inaccuracies in switching and
long settlement periods which meant that consumers received long invoices which
made it difficult for them to pay. A survey found that the three energy
suppliers were more unpopular than the tax office and customs.
Legislation sought to address customer dissatisfaction without
specifically mentioning smart meter roll-out. As a result the unbundled network
companies involved in the roll-out focused only on complying with the
legislation and not on the capabilities of the smart meters for demand –
response, dynamic pricing, frequent feedback to consumers
As a result the meters deployed are not capable of supporting energy
efficiency programs and do not capture the data required for effective pricing
After the meter deployment, the consumer has two options of getting
monthly or hourly readings without any extra charge. Although the
implementation has increased awareness of electricity consumption, it has not
had the impact desired as consumers do not know which appliance consumes the
most electricity and what they can do to reduce consumption. The positive aspect of implementation was
that consumers became aware of exactly what they were paying and to whom (Dromacque, Xu, & Baynes, 2013).
Australia – In the face of rising demand for electricity, the Victorian
Department of Environment and Primary Industries decided in 2007 to have a
large scale roll-out of smart meters with Time of use (ToU) pricing to shave
peak demand. However the roll-out would not be accompanied by in-home display
units. Following the decision, customers complained of inflated electricity
bills without a means to track and manage their consumption which was the very
purpose of the roll-out.
In response to the consumer
backlash, the Victorian government ordered a moratorium on ToU while the
installation was in progress.
There has been a backlash amongst consumers and media triggered by
safety, privacy and cost concerns. Under the mandated arrangement, customers
did not have a choice, were faced with paying for the smart meters before they
could take advantage of the benefits of smart meters, and have seen costs rise
from an estimated $AUS 1.6 billion to over $2 billion.
The moratorium period while addressing the concerns of the impact on
consumers, delayed the consumers realization of benefits. The backlash has been
attributed to the fact that consumers were kept in the dark as to how they
could take advantage of ToU’s pricing mechanisms and were not provided with the
tools like IHD’s to accomplish the same (Dromacque et al., 2013).
Why is end user acceptance important?
conclusion that can be drawn from the above case studies of smart meter
roll-outs in Sweden and Australia is that a major component of successful
implementation of smart meters constitutes the acceptance of the end user
namely the consumer.
One of the critical success factors in any IT implementation
is user acceptance of information technology systems. Such projects
involve expensive infrastructure that is paid for, whether directly or
indirectly, by consumers, and hence it is important to achieve consumer
confidence. There have been multiple instances of major consumer pushback
against smart meters, for example in Victoria, California and Ontario. This has
resulted in project-sponsors battling to convince consumers of the potential
benefits and this may continue for years.
A technology will not be welcomed by the end user if
it is not useful for them, even if it could contribute to solving major issues
like lowering carbon emissions and climate change (Yesudas & Clarke, 2015). Although end users are central players in
these systems, they are sometimes not central considerations in technology or
program design, and in some cases, their motivations for participating in such
systems are not fully appreciated. Behavioral science can be instrumental in
engaging end-users and maximizing the impact of smart technologies Sintov et.
In this context, the voluntary adoption of smart water
meters in Bangalore becomes highly crucial as it throws light on the factors
that influence the adoption of smart metering which can hold valuable
lessons for the future implementation of smart meters in the city.
Smart Metering in
India: A study assessing the factors affecting technology acceptance of smart
metering by stakeholders and the challenges associated with implementation.
The deployment of
smart meters in the Indian context and their protection against the unplanned
water infrastructure can be a challenging task (Gupta et al.,
2016). In addition it involves challenges with respect to convincing the end
user of its benefits. The success of the smart metering technology depends on
its acceptance by key stakeholders in implementation and most importantly the
end user i.e. the household. This research would focus on the factors that
shape the end users decision to accept or reject smart metering technology. It
would also look into the role played by macroeconomic policies, governance and
private sector participation in implementation and household acceptance of
The research would
assess household attitude towards smart meters in the city of Bangalore and the
challenges that the utility would face in terms of convincing the end user of
the benefits of smart meter, ensuring the data privacy of the end user and standardization
1) Identifying stakeholders in smart metering systems
2) Identifying the factors influencing adoption of smart
Profiling different types of households and assessing their
attitude towards smart meters.
Understanding consumer concerns regarding the technology in order
to improve public communication in deployment of smart meters.
3) Identifying the technical, economic and regulatory
challenges that stakeholders will face as a result of implementation. ReferencesBlom, A.,
Cox, P., & Raczka, K. (2010). Developing a Policy Position on Smart Water
C., Xu, S., & Baynes, S. (2013). Case study on innovative smart billing for
household consumers.Gupta, A.,
Mishra, S., Bokde, N., & Kulat, K. (2016). Need of Smart Water Systems In
India, 11(4), 2216–2223.Martyusheva,
O. (2014). Smart Water Grid, 1–80.Public
Utilities Board Singapore. (2016). Managing the water distribution network
with a Smart Water Grid (Vol. 1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40713-016-0004-4Sastry, G.
S. (2006). Working paper 176.Sumpena,
A. (2016). What is Smart City?
R., & Clarke, R. (2015). Measures to Improve Public Acceptance of Smart
Metering System, (August).