Getty Images 1203294595 2 5f92d9213a7fe

India & Rest of South Asia to Invest US$25.9 billion in Smart Grid Infrastructure

Oct. 23, 2020
Investment to address high non-technical losses and need for remote metering during the pandemic, says study.

South Asia is set to become a leading destination for smart grid infrastructure investment over the next decade. Dominated by India, the region will invest US$25.9 billion to modernize its power sector over the period 2020-2029, according to a new study published recently by the Northeast Group.

Smart metering will account for the majority of investment but other segments such as grid automation and battery storage will also see significant development. The market is seeing early growth even as the region continues to cope with the fallout of the global pandemic and ongoing geopolitical tensions between China and India.

“Obviously the Covid-19 crisis is far from over, and along with the human toll, the region has taken a nosedive economically,” said Stephen Chakerian, senior research analyst at the Northeast Group. “But ultimately Covid-19 could be seen as a positive for smart grid infrastructure development in the region. The few South Asian utilities that already had smart metering in place showed much higher collection rates during the lockdown and interest is growing even as the pandemic continues.”

India’s central government is targeting a nationwide rollout and is utilizing every policy lever available to make smart metering an appealing option for Indian states, nearly all of which suffer from high transmission and distribution losses. While ultimately investment decisions are made by the states and utilities, the national government-run Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) is playing a leading role and has released multiple smart meter tenders of up to five million meters each.

There is promising activity in the region’s other countries too. Asian Development Bank (ADB) financing is driving large-scale projects in Pakistan and a full rollout in Nepal, and utilities in Bangladesh appear to be carving out space for smart metering in a market that to-date had been reserved solely for legacy prepaid metering.

Local and Chinese vendors are the most active in the region, although recent tensions between India and China have added fresh challenges to the market. There is now a concerted effort to deny Chinese vendors access to the Indian market, though Chinese infrastructure will still likely be received elsewhere in South Asia. India’s domestic manufacturing capacity is ramping up to meet demand, although it remains to be seen if Chinese and other vendors are needed to meet the country’s targets. These vendors are working with international partners such as Landis+Gyr, Trilliant, EDF, Itron, CyanConnode, Oracle and Siemens, who will play a key role in supplying software, communications, and professional services.

The Northeast Group’s South Asia Smart Grid: Market Forecast (2020 – 2029) study is currently available at

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!