Big blow to Adani group in UP, Rs 5,400-crore Smart Meter tender canceled citing ‘unavoidable reasons’

The Adani Group has experienced a significant setback in Uttar Pradesh’s energy sector. MVVNL, Uttar Pradesh’s power utility, has terminated the Adani Group’s tender to supply 7.5 million smart meters, worth approximately Rs 5,400 crore, to be installed by DISCOM. According to sources, Adani Group had placed the lowest bid, yet the discom canceled it citing unavoidable reasons.

According to media reports, UP discoms, including Madhyanchal, Dakshinchal, Purvanchal and Paschimanchal, had issued tenders for the supply of more than 25 million smart meters representing various regions. The combined bid value was estimated at Rs 25,000 crore. Apart from Adani, GMR, L&T and Intellismart Infra were also in the fray for the project. Intellismart Infra is a joint venture company of Energy Efficiency Services (EESL) and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

According to Consumer Council President Awadhesh Verma, Adani Group had imposed a rate of Rs 10,000 for the meter, while it was reading only Rs 6,000, leading to objections. This resulted in the cancellation of the tender. The meter rate was raised from 48 percent to 65 percent, which Verma claimed was excessively high in comparison to the Rs 6,000 per meter cost specified in the Rural Electrification Corporation’s billing guidelines.

MVVNL had invited e-tender for appointment of Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Service Provider for Smart Prepaid Metering in MVVNL. In its notification dated February 4, MVVNL said, “The tender stands canceled due to unavoidable reasons.” Now, the discoms are likely to opt for a new tender process.

Interestingly, none of the four private companies in the fray are manufacturers of smart meters. They might have sublet the manufacturing after winning the contract. Meanwhile, the UP Electricity Consumer Forum has already challenged the tender before the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC). They allege that a higher price is being told for the smart meter.