Process Automation

APSPDCL’s IT and OT initiatives

Set up in March 31, 2000, Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) currently serves a consumer base of over 11 million, spread across eight districts of Andhra Pradesh. Initially, the discom was formed for six districts – Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, Chittoor and Kadapa. However, after the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh into two new states – Andhra Pradesh and Telangana – in June 2014, Anantapur and Kurnool districts were also brought under APSPDCL’s purview, taking the total area served by the discom to 118,119 square km.

The utility has implemented a slew of IT initiatives for enabling process automation and digitisation of day-to-day functions like new service applications, payments, consumer complaints, and operations and maintenance. Smart Utilities presents an overview of APSPDCL’s IT initiatives…

R-APDRP

Part A (IT) of the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) is being implemented in 46 towns across eight districts under APSPDCL. Meanwhile, supervisory control and data acquisition/ distribution management systems (SCADA/ DMS) are being implemented in Vijayawada, Guntur and Nellore at a sanctioned cost of Rs 391.9 million, of which Rs 117.6 million has been disbursed. Under the R-APDRP, the utility is installing various software such as Oracle CCB for new connections, disconnection, billing, collection and metering; PRDC for network analysis; and Arc GIS for GIS. A total of Rs 1,268.4 million has been sanctioned under the R-APDRP, of which Rs 943.3 million has been disbursed.

Smart meter pilot project

APSPDCL has also initiated a smart meter pilot project for which work has been awarded to Hyderabad’s ADYA Wifi Metering Private Limited to install 580 meters in Tirupati town.

The functions that are to be monitored through these meters include typical loading level of the transformers, power availability, time of use/critical peak pricing, voltage profile of consumers, outage management system, demand-side management, power quality and reliability, energy accounting/audit demand response and load forecasting. Besides, these meters help in market operations – complex billing, peak load management, distribution system planning, operations planning, billing and settlement, connection management, and improvement of financial performance, operational efficiency, reliability, safety and security.

Digital payment initiatives

APSPDCL has also implemented various types of digital payment initiatives. The utility has launched a mobile application for its customers to avail of services like electricity bill payments, viewing consumption/payment history of the past 12 months, etc. Various customer care services like complaint registration/ tracking and low tension (LT) application status are also available. Moreover, customers can get information on supply details (section, substation, etc.), feeder details and contact details of the nearest distribution officers (assistant engineer, assistant divisional engineer, etc.).

More recently, APSPDCL has launched the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app and the Bharat QR mode of digital payment to enable its consumers to make online payments through computers or smartphones. These modes of payments are secure and simple to use.

Central billing system

The central billing system is an in-house application developed for automating the billing and collection process, and includes activities such as the preparation of spot billing and spot collection data. It also involves uploading of billing and collection data to the central server, and the generation of bill book abstracts and various reports. Billing for 11 million consumers is carried out through this application and all LT consumers are billed through spot billing machines. This application is integrated with all online revenue collection counters, common service centres and the monitoring and tracking system (MATS).

MATS

MATS is a web-based application installed by the discom to monitor and track cases related energy theft, malpractices, additional load, back billing and direct tapping. MATS captures information on electricity theft, calculates the assessment amount and generates notices, FIRs, etc. It also helps in reducing the time taken for processing complaints and disposing of cases.

DTR tracking system

APSPDCL has developed and implemented an IT-driven, GPRS-based tracking module to ensure compliance with the standard of performance (SoP) norms in replacing failed distribution transformers (DTRs). The application tracks DTR failure and ensures replacement of the failed DTR, adhering to the timelines of the SoP norms specified by the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission. The application also captures photographs of the failed DTR, the replaced DTR and the vehicle transported along with the coordinates of the DTR structure and sends these to the server through the GPRS system. This application is integrated with the centralised customer care for providing information to the consumer.

UrjaMitra app for outage management

UrjaMitra is an initiative of the Ministry of Power that provides a platform for disseminating outage information to power distribution consumers across India through SMSs/calls/push notifications. UrjaMitra is a pan-Indian integrated mobile application for Android and iOS-based operating systems, which gives consumers access to real-time as well as historical outage information for discoms. APSPDCL has provided data for 7,734 11 kV feeders and details of 7.56 million consumers to be uploaded on the UrjaMitra application.

E-office and e-stores

E-office was started by APSPDCL in April 2016 at its corporate office and has now been extended to its zonal and circle offices as well. All correspondence between offices and circulating notes within the office are done through e-office wherein letters are signed using digital keys (digital signature certificate token). The e-stores module was also implemented in April 2016. The main aim of implementing e-stores was to deliver the required material to various work locations to avoid wastage of time. The section officer creates the material requisition in SAP and the concerned stores need to deliver the material within the stipulated time at the section officer’s doorstep.

Systems, applications and products

The utility implemented the SAP 4.7 version with a few modules in 2008. The SAP ECC 6.0 version was implemented on May 1, 2010. A trained core team is currently looking after the day-to-day issues in SAP.

Conclusion

APSPDCL has demonstrated a strong operational performance and is offering enhanced customer services on the back of the IT and OT initiatives discussed above. Going forward, the company’s focus on digitisation is expected to help it meet its goal of providing reliable power and quality services to its customers. n

With inputs from a presentation by Damodara Nambeti, Additional Divisional Engineer, APSPDCL, at a recent Power Line conference

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