Focus on Data Analytics: BSES roadmap for deploying smart grid technologies

BSES roadmap for deploying smart grid technologies

Increasing consumer demands along with the need to reduce losses and minimise costs have made it imperative for distribution companies to constantly innovate, adopt smart technologies and engage consumers. BSES Delhi, which meets the electricity needs of almost two-thirds of the city  through its two discoms – BSES Rajdhani Power Limited and BSES Yamuna Power Limited – is in the process of deploying smart grid technologies to cater to the growing consumer demand efficiently and reliably, improving consumer services, power quality and availability.

Smart grid development involves five key stages: data generation through smart meters, relays, etc.; data collection using communication networks; data processing through servers; data analysis with the use of analytics; and decision-making and implementation. Of these, BSES has focused on data analytics as it helps in utilising the collected data to extract useful information, thereby making the system “smart”.

Use of analytics

Considering the importance of data analytics, in 2007-08, BSES decided to collect data, including single-phase meter data, using a computerised meter reading instrument (CMRI) and then undertake data analytics. The utility focused on object-oriented analytics, irrespective of the source of data, either online or offline, without being constrained by the absence of a smart grid. Further, meters were installed at every node, which led to the generation of a large amount of data. Network health was assessed by analysing and comparing the data generated at the supply end with that generated at the consumer end.

The analysis helped in identifying the causes for a host of abnormalities related to voltage principle, load, consumption pattern, meter parameters, etc. BSES analysed this data to identify incidents of electricity thefts.

Although the analytics evolved continuously, it was felt that the monthly data being collected using CMRIs was not sufficient to meet the end- objectives. To further improve its performance with respect to breakdown response, high loss areas, consumer engagement and input power management, BSES decided to review its entire data chain and analytics process, and paved the way for the development of a smart grid.

Metering systems and roadmap

The findings of the review mechanism identified 150,000 consumers that immediately needed online data and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI). These consumers were grouped into two categories. The first category included distribution transformers (DTs), net/tail-end consumers, high tension and low tension, current transformers (CTs), and communication towers that needed online communication. The second category included street light controllers, prepaid consumers, temporary connections including those with frequent tenancy changes, and habitual defaulters that required online communication, and connect and disconnect facility.

Emphasis was laid on the installation of tail-end meters as they provide significant information related to outages, network capability, technical losses, etc., which is useful in making operational decisions. So far, the utility has installed over 50,000 tail-end meters.

The plan of action post the review was to plot the identified 150,000 consumers that require AMI on the geographic information system (GIS). Due to the city’s high population density, these were uniformly located. The utility then decided to connect these consumers through radio frequency (RF), forming an RF canopy.

If the RF canopy materialises, BSES can formulate its own database. In the new system, the grid will be based on optic fibre and all the DTs and consumer meters will be based on RF. The data collected will be sent on the meter data acquisition system (MDAS), and not on Oracle as is done at present, and the automatic power factor correction (APFC) unit will be transformed into a smart APFC where the power factor can be changed. After the complete deployment of smart meters and collection of data through tail-end meters, BSES will be able to control input, implement demand response, identify faults in the circuit and transfer information regarding the same to the consumer through outage management systems and GIS.

BSES thus intends to have an RF canopy, AMI on key meters, DT meter automation, MDAS, and SCADA integration for the purpose of reducing consumption and minimising losses as well as for better outage management.

The way forward

So far, BSES is utilising data analytics without deployment of a smart metering system. However, the utility has identified various areas for deployment of a smart grid. The discom is expected to conduct trials in September-October 2015 in coordination with two companies selected to review the actual status of performance after the complete roll-out of AMI. Acknowledging the technical viability of BSES’s solutions, four international companies have also shown interest in implementing the BSES roadmap.

Based on a presentation by Rajesh Bansal, Senior Vice-President, BSES Rajdhani Power Limited, at a recent Power Line conference