MPPTCL

Implementing new technologies to overcome challenges

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…

Current infrastructure

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.

Financials

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.

New initiatives

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.

Future plans

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.