Smart Moves

IT and OT measures taken by APSPDCL

Prior to its bifurcation, the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh had four discoms. Of these, Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) and Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited (APEPDCL) continue to manage electricity distribution in Andhra Pradesh.

With the division, two more districts were added to APSPDCL and it now covers eight districts spread across 118,119 square km with over 6,400 11 kV feeders. In the past 10 years, the utility has shown significant improvement in its performance with its aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C) declining from 20.8 per cent in 2005-06 to about 12 per cent in 2014-15. This is the result of various initiatives undertaken by the utility, including network augmentation and maintenance measures, consumer awareness programmes, and implementation of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). Smart Utilities takes a look at some of these IT and OT initiatives and their benefits…

IT and OT initiatives

Some of the IT and OT initiatives undertaken by APSPDCL include the introduction of solutions such as SAP, central billing system (CBS),

supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), monitoring and tracking system (MATS), DT tracking system and outage management system (OMS).

SAP

SAP is an enterprise resource planning package that offers a common system for performing multiple tasks through the use of a centralised database, thereby improving data maintenance. SAP was implemented by APSPDCL in 2008 and is now working on various different modules including the project systems module (for dealing with estimate sanctions, and the issue and closing of work orders for various works executed in the discom), the plant maintenance module (for maintaining all transactions related to repairs and maintenance of power transformers and distribution transformers), finance and control (for dealing with all transactions related to accounts payables, accounts receivables and controlling), material management (for handling transactions like purchase orders and receipts), human resource management (enabling the setting up of organisational hierarchies and administering employee data), and the business intelligence and enterprise portal (for developing and maintaining various reports).

CBS

This is an in-house application developed for automating the billing and collection process. It helps in all billing-related activities like preparation of spot billing data and spot collection data, uploading of billing and collection data to the central server, generation of bill book abstracts and various other reports. Billing activities of almost 10 million consumers are carried out through this application, which is integrated with all online revenue collection counters, customer service centres and MATS.

MATS

This is a web-based application that monitors and tracks cases related to theft of energy, malpractice, additional load, back billing and direct tapping. MATS captures all the information related to the theft of energy, calculates the assessment amount and generates notices like theft complaints, initial assessment notices and final assessment notices. It helps in reducing the time taken to detect a theft and provides an effective monitoring tool for the senior management to dispose of cases.

IT under the R-APDRP

The Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (APDRP) was initiated to reduce AT&C losses in the power sector. It is being implemented in 46 towns served by APSPDCL. Under the Restructured APDRP (R-APDRP), consumer indexing of around 2.25 million consumers and asset mapping of 239 substations, 22,299 DTs and 922 feeders have been done. Further, automated meter reading (AMR) infrastructure has been installed in almost 30,000 DTs, 922 feeder energy meters, 1,370 high tension services, 1,140 low tension services and 70 boundary meters.

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and distribution management system (DMS) are also being implemented under the

R-APDRP in Vijayawada, Guntur and Nellore, covering more than 50 substations. The DMS modules enable effective short-term load forecasting; operation monitoring; dispatcher training; distribution power flow studies; load allocation; fault location, isolation and service restoration; and feeder reconfiguration.

OMS

Outage management is typically not one of the first considerations for a utility while implementing AMR technology. However, APSPDCL has been managing outages with the help of this technology. The key AMR features being implemented include data collection from feeder meters, pooling of data to the server, generation of alarms and notifications based on system conditions and validation logic, reading of energy usage parameters like instantaneous load, load surveys and event logging, and generation of reports based on the above-mentioned parameters for the feeders.

CSC

The customer service centre (CSC) is a web-based application that acts as a single-window clearance point for all customer-related activities. These include registration of new services, re-registration of services and service-related changes like category change, title transfer, load change and phase change. The requests are registered and sent to the concerned departments automatically as they are integrated with the electricity revenue offices’ (ERO) counter collections and SAP system. The system enables tracking of the service right from its registration to the release of the work order, material draws and release of the service. The application also generates various reports like category-wise pendency and complaints performance.

Vidyut PRAVAH application

The Vidyut PRAVAH mobile application was launched in March 2016 by the Ministry of Power. The application provides information on the power availability in the country on a real-time basis as well as data pertaining to the market price of power at the exchange, the prevailing all-India electricity demand, and  shortages at the state and national levels.

DTR tracking system

An IT-driven general packet radio service (GPRS)-based tracking module is being developed to enforce the standards of performance (SoP) norms for replacing failed DTRs. This application will track failed DTRs and ensure their replacement by adhering to the timelines as per the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission-specified SoP norms. This application will capture photographs of the failed DTR, the replaced DTR and the vehicle transporting the DTR, along with the coordinates of the DTR structure. It sends the photographs to the server through the GPRS. This application is integrated with the centralised customer care centre for providing information to the consumer. Another IT-based initiative taken by APSPDCL is the setting up of an online feeder monitoring system. Online monitoring of feeders is being done through the installation of mini remote terminal units at substations. The state government has also introduced e-office, an online platform aimed at improving efficiency in all department processes and service delivery mechanisms.

Key benefits

Implementation of IT and OT initiatives makes the system more adaptive, predictive, integrative, interactive, scalable, expandable and repeatable, with optimisation and security features. These technologies enable dynamic optimisation and management of the distribution system by providing decision-making data, and lead to improvements in monitoring and control capabilities, which, in turn, enable a higher level of system reliability. Voltage control through reactive power compensation and broader application of power electronics increases the transfer capacity of existing lines and improves the resilience of the system on the whole.

Moreover, the initiatives lead to lower disturbance losses, differed capital expenditure and reduced maintenance costs, and provide greater control to consumers over their consumption. Besides consumers and the utility, the environment benefits from reductions in peak demand and the corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions.

Conclusion

The various IT and OT initiatives implemented by APSPDCL have exerted a positive impact on the quality of supply and consumer service in its distribution area. While it continues to work towards better integration of the various technologies and systems, the utility showcases the various IT and OT applications it has implemented and how they can benefit other power utilities.

Based on a presentation by N. Damodara, Additional Divisional Engineer, APSPDCL

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