Established in November 2001, Madhya Pradesh Power Transmission Company Limited (MPPTCL) has been successfully wheeling power in the state since its inception. Over this time, the utility’s transmission network has grown by over 226 per cent and its transmission capacity by over 426 per cent. As of March 2021, the transco has a transmission loss of 2.62 per cent with a high system availability of 99.6 per cent. In 2020-21, the company successfully met a peak load of 15,425 MW (as of December 31, 2020). A pioneer in implementing new technologies as well as public-private partnership in transmission, MPPTCL plans to grow considerably in the coming years with a proposed capex of over Rs 38 billion till 2025-26. A look at the company’s performance, initiatives and future plans…
As of March 2021, MPPTCL’s line length stood at 39,582 ckt. km. Most of its line length of about 54 per cent is at the 132 kV level, followed by 220 kV lines with a share of 36 per cent and the rest is accounted for by 400 kV lines. The length of 400 kV lines stood at 3,815 ckt. km, that of 220 kV lines at 14,265 ckt. km and that of 132 kV lines at 215,012 ckt. km. The line length at different voltages has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.54 per cent, 3.72 per cent and 6.19 per cent, respectively, from 2016-17 to 2020-21.
MPPTCL’s substation base, as of March 2021, stood at 396, an increase of 3.94 per cent from 2019-20. Of the total, 14 are 400 kV substations, 84 are 220 kV substations and the remaining 298 are 132 kV substations. The total number of substations has grown at a CAGR of 4.66 per cent. Meanwhile, substation capacity stood at 70,300 MVA, as of March 2021. The capacity of 400 kV, 220 kV and 132 kV substations stands at 10,595 MVA, 28,410 MVA and 31,295 MVA respectively, growing at a CAGR of 9.57 per cent, 6.61 per cent and 6.8 per cent, respectively, from 2016-17 to 2020-21. The total substation capacity has increased at a CAGR of 7.87 per cent during the same period. MPPTCL has been successful in reducing its transmission losses, which declined from 2.71 per cent in 2016-17 to 2.59 per cent in 2019-20. The losses, however, increased to 2.62 per cent in 2020-21. During the same period, system availability increased from 98.39 per cent in 2016-17 to 99.6 per cent in 2020-21.
The company’s revenue for financial year 2020-21 stood at Rs 50,113 million and its profit at Rs 118.3 million. The expenditure during the same period was Rs 49,994.7 million, of which 11.12 per cent was in operations and maintenance at Rs 5,558.3 million. Over the five-year period from 2016-17 to 2020-21, the company incurred a total capex of Rs 69.9 billion. During 2020-21, its capex stood at Rs 12,233 million, a decline of 29.8 per cent from Rs 17,425.6 million in 2019-20.
Issues and challenges
The transmission network of Madhya Pradesh has grown significantly in terms of size and complexity, driven by the phenomenal growth of power demand, increasing number of players, location of generation pockets and implementation of open access. With this, the transco is facing certain issues and challenges. The key challenges pertain to financial resource mobilisation, loss containment within regulatory limits, maintaining high system availability, timely strengthening of available transfer capability/ total transfer capability of network, influx of renewable energy and ramping-up problems, cybersecurity, efficient data acquisition and control and ageing network infrastructure. In addition, network expansion is severely hampered by right-of-way (RoW) issues, which cause time overruns in transmission projects.
To overcome these challenges, MPPTCL is taking several measures such as network strengthening, systematic replacement of old transformers by new units, replacement of other equipment like isolators, circuit breakers, battery sets, etc., tower strengthening, replacement of old disc insulators, stub repairing of old lines and resagging of conductors. The transco is also adopting new grid technologies. For instance, it is planning to set up a hybrid gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) substation and two GIS substations for the first time in order to overcome space constraints. Also, MPPTCL is introducing the use of self-designed narrow-base towers to overcome RoW issues. Other initiatives include use of monopoles for overcoming urban RoW problems, use of high temperature low sag conductors and extra high tension cables and laying of optical ground wire (OPGW) network.
Some other new practices adopted by the transco include the use of resin impregnated paper bushing for transformers, installation of polymer (silicone rubber) current transformer at the 132 kV level, polymer arresters at the 33 kV level, dissolved gas analysers, incorporation of aerial work platform and scaffoldings, thermovision or night cameras, fault locator, puncture insulator detector and use of bird guards, bird stools and bird flappers for the reduction of trippings. MPPTCL has also initiated a pilot project of line patrolling through drones.
Besides, MPPTCL has implemented a state-of-the-art supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system which has helped in improving operational efficiency and in maintaining more than 99 per cent system availability. Three SCADA control centres have been established, at Jabalpur, Bhopal and Indore, and so far, 312 substations have been integrated with the respective control centres. Further, Madhya Pradesh’s state load despatch centre (SLDC) has also become the first SLDC in the country to implement a cyber crisis management scheme. This scheme has been approved by the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In). MPPTCL also deploys an emergency restoration system sourced from Lindsey Systems, USA, for repairs and maintenance of transmission lines during breakdowns. It also implements high standards for preventive maintenance of EHV lines. Additionally, to promote the use of green energy, MPPTCL has installed solar panels in seven of its substations.
Going forward, MPPTCL has planned a capex of Rs 38,209.6 million over the 2021-22 to 2025-26 period. It plans to add 3,776 ckt. km of transmission lines and 13,000 MVA of substation capacity. A total of 47 substations are planned to be added. The company also plans to award projects under the tariff-based competitive bidding route.
The company has adopted many state-of-the-art technologies and it plans to focus on using technology in the future too, to overcome challenges. MPPTCL plans to integrate SCADA with intelligent electronic devices, automated EHV substations, and surveillance systems, among others. With a robust capex plan and an ambitious capacity addition strategy in place, the transco is set to meet the future electricity requirements of Madhya Pradesh.