Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Sri Lanka to deploy smart grid for prepaid electricity

Steve Rogerson
February 19, 2019

An IoT-enabled smart grid will introduce prepaid electricity metering to Sri Lanka through a consortium of Sri Lanka connectivity provider Dialog Axiata, Lanka Electricity Company (Leco) and the Ministry of Power & Renewable Energy.
The announcement was made at the GSMA Mobile for Development Utilities Asia Industry Forum. The event was inaugurated by Ravi Karunanayake, the minister for power, energy and business development.
The technology, developed in collaboration with the Dialog Mobile Communications Research Lab at the University of Moratuwa, converts a standard electronic meter into a smart meter that can maintain a prepaid wallet to facilitate prepaid electricity metering. It is supported by a utility IoT and analytics platform and utility meter data management system, developed jointly by Dialog and Leco.
The smart-grid technology also consists of a network monitoring device (NMD) that monitors the low voltage power distribution network in real time.
“The first of its kind in Sri Lanka, this IoT enabled smart-grid solution reiterates Dialog’s commitment to enriching Sri Lankan lives and enterprises using the latest in technology and innovation,” said Anthony Rodrigo, Dialog chief innovation officer. “The smart meter enables users to have complete control over their electricity consumption, along with the flexibility to top-up the meter as and when they require, based on their individual or enterprise needs, resulting in a cost-effective and efficient electricity solution.”
This is the first IoT-enabled prepaid meter in the utility sector in Sri Lanka, where consumers will be able to reload the electricity meter as and when convenient, similar to how a prepaid mobile is reloaded, rather than having to pay a monthly bill. It is also the first IoT initiative in the utility sector where an IoT platform has the capacity to connect smart meters and NMDs to a single platform, thereby providing flexibility and scalability to Leco.
Moreover, prepaid electricity metering will benefit low-income communities and will be initially available in the Leco Green Energy Zone in Kotte.
“The Sri Lankan energy sector has embarked on a mission to develop a smart grid in the country,” said HN Gunasekera, general manager of Leco. “It is envisaged that this will provide Sri Lankan electricity consumers transparent and cost-effective energy. Leco is at the forefront in this mission with the objective of developing a home-grown solution for utility smart grid within their franchised areas. Leco is quite proud of the unique solution that it has developed with its local partners, Dialog and University of Moratuwa.”
BMS Batagoda, secretary ministry of power, energy and business development, added: “This project is the first step towards converting the Sri Lankan power sector into a smart grid. Therefore, the ministry is fully supportive of this initiative since it brings technological advancements to the Sri Lankan power sector and enables Sri Lanka to move forward with the latest technologies.”
And Nalin Wickramarachchi, the dean at the faculty of engineering at the University of Moratuwa, said: "This is a landmark achievement for Sri Lanka, being the first IoT-based large scale deployment in the country. It has given us first-hand experience of the complete cycle of developing and deploying a solution of this nature in partnership with the industry. The faculty is proud to be a part of this effort, and we see this as an example of fulfilling our obligation to take new technology to society."
This initiative was partly funded by the GSMA Mobile for Development (M4D) Utility Partnership Grant.