Technology Leap: KPTCL’s IT initiatives for network expansion and upgradation

KPTCL’s IT initiatives for network expansion and upgradation

Karnataka Power Transmission Company Limited (KPTCL) has been gearing up to expand and upgrade its transmission infrastructure in order to meet the increasing electricity demand. The utility owns and operates 43,960 ckt. km of transmission lines and 1,466 substations (as of April 2017). The 220 kV lines account for a share of 25 per cent in the total line length, while 110 kV and 66 kV lines account for about 24 per cent each. The lines at the 33 kV (20 per cent) and 400 kV (7 per cent) levels account for the remaining share.

KPTCL is one of the early adopters of technology in its operations. The company pioneered the implementation of the largest supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network in India that helps to monitor interruptions, frequency drops and grid instability on a real-time basis. In addition, the utility has deployed an array of applications for monitoring its day-to-day activities such as bill collection, file management and attendance management. This has helped KPTCL deliver a strong performance.

IT applications

KPTCL has developed a web-based software, “Station E-log”, for monitoring hourly readings and energy meter readings of each feeder. The software is hosted on its website and helps generate the energy consumption reports of feeders across the state. The utility has also deployed a bill tracking system, which keeps a record of the bills sent and received at various offices. The payment details of vendors and suppliers are fed into the system and several reports can be generated using this software. The suppliers/contractors can also check the status of their bills online.

In addition, the utility has developed a project photo uploading system, which is used for uploading the photos of the ongoing projects that are at different stages of implementation. The photos are uploaded to the central server so that they can be reviewed by the management and necessary instructions can be sent to the project execution staff. KPTCL also has a project monitoring system which is an online web-based application used for monitoring the progress of different projects right from the planning stage to the commissioning stage. This application keeps the top management informed about the day-to-day progress of various ongoing projects and facilitates quick decision-making.

KPTCL’s file tracking system keeps a record of the files and documents sent from/received by a department. The system provides the status of files/documents, if they have been sent or are currently in transit. Besides, the utility has software that stores the biodata of all group A and group B officers within the organisation. This software captures information regarding their areas of interest, achievements, details of posting, etc. Another application on departmental examination maintains a database of all the employees who are appearing for departmental exams. The application has details regarding the date of filing the examination forms and online declaration of results.

KPTCL has developed cash flow software for monitoring the daily cash flow by the resource section of KPTCL. The software captures cash received by KPTCL from banks and other sources, as well as payments made to contractors, suppliers, employees, government agencies, etc. There is an inter-unit account clearance system, which has been developed for tracking inter-unit transactions between various divisions of the organisation. Using this software, the inter-unit account details are tracked between divisions with proper validation. In addition, there is bank reconciliation system software, which is used to reconcile the transaction of KPTCL’s non-operative bank accounts with the related transactions at the head office. KPTCL has also developed the electricity supply company performance monitoring system for capturing their performance parameters (like aggregated technical and commercial loss, village electrification, etc.) and generating a comparative performance report.

The inventory management system is used for the maintenance of store transactions and to generate related management information system reports. The day-to-day store transactions are entered into the system using this software to generate reports. KPTCL also uses the pension software application  for authorising pension payment, gratuity calculation and commutation of pension. Other applications being used by the company include the New Defined Contributory Pension Scheme software, payroll software and personnel database. Besides, software for consolidation of accounts and generation of annual financial reports, online transfer requests, attendance monitoring, and processing of right to information applications are also deployed.

KPTCL is also developing an intranet portal, which will form the communication backbone and connect all its employees spread across the state. The portal will streamline information management within the corporation. All the documents that are required by officers within KPTCL will be available online. Further, KPTCL has designed and is maintaining its own data centre at the corporate office in Bengaluru. All the applications are hosted in this data centre on blade servers and virtualisation has been done for the maximum utilisation of server resources.


KPTCL has selected ABB’s network manager solution, which comprises SCADA and a communication system with integrated energy and distribution management software. Together, these monitor and send reports from every part of the network across the entire state. The entire project was developed in two phases at a cost of Rs 2.39 billion. The SCADA system consists of 16 control centres, which includes the main control centre (MCC), a disaster recovery centre, area load despatch centres for the transmission zones and distribution control centres for the electricity supply companies in the state. In addition, the network comprises nearly 900 remote terminal units (RTUs). The RTUs communicate to MCC-1 and distribution RTUs communicate to MCC-2. The entire data acquisition is done over VSAT from the RTUs to the main control centres based on the IEC 104 protocol.

SCADA helps the utility to centrally monitor and control the main transmission and distribution substations scattered across the state. Further, KPTCL is able to identify and correct faults quickly, which minimises the frequency and duration of unplanned power outages. The system also helps operators organise planned maintenance work, improving safety levels for workers and reducing the number of affected areas.

The way forward

Going forward, KPTCL aims to develop and implement a web-based online portal, which will facilitate consumer-centric services such as processing of open access applications, high tension applications received from consumers requiring a load of 7,500 kVA and above, applications from independent power producers for power evacuation, and vendor approval.

On the network expansion front, KPTCL plans to add around 40 new substations and augment 75 old substations to prevent overloading. Since space is a constraint in Bengaluru, the utility is planning to install gas-insulated switchgear substations. In addition, the company plans to add lines of over 885 ckt. km in 2017-18. In the past, KPTCL had deployed Swedish covered conductor technology, which helps laying new lines without disrupting power supply. The company plans to deploy the same technology for other transmission lines as well. Given the growing integration of renewable energy with the state grid,  KPTCL needs to look at solutions to ensure grid stability and safety.