IT in Power Sector
Information Technology (IT) has the potential to contribute significantly in the power reforms process, particularly in the areas of business process automation, revenue and commercial management, distribution system automation, consumer relationship management (CRM) and AT&C(Aggregate Technical and Commercial) loss reduction. Information Technology (IT) is widely acknowledged to be crucial for efficient operation and management of all industrial systems. This is equally true of the power utilities, which need to handle a large amount of information for their efficient operation.
It has been observed that the approach of the various distribution utilities towards IT has been piecemeal with standalone applications deployed for a limited operational requirement. In other words, IT has been used as a tool to address a specific issue or two at a time and not as a long-term, holistic strategy. While Indian IT sector has helped numerous organizations around the globe derive substantial benefits from application of IT, there is plenty of room for IT application within the power sector in India. There is a need to look at the global practices in IT adoption in the power sector so that India can benefit from it, the gap in IT adoption globally and in the Indian power sector is apparent and glaring and even the rate of overall technology adoption in India is on the lower side. Globally IT is being used to enable operations at a transaction level thus providing advantages like in-built process controls, workflow enabled transactions, single point of data capture and support for timely strategic decision making. On the other hand, in India, the core operations are still manual and therefore face issues like adhoc decision making, poor data quality, long decision making cycles and underutilization of IT investments. In order to reap the benefits of IT, the wide gap between India and global best has to be bridged.
Understanding the need of IT in power sector, Ministry of Power, Govt. of India, as a part of Reforms in the Power Sector, has launched the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) in the XI Five year Plan. The focus of the program is on the actual demonstrable performance in terms of AT&C loss reduction, establishment of the reliable and automated sustainable systems for collection of base line data, adoption of information technology (IT) in the areas of electricity accounting, Consumer care and strengthening of Distribution network of State Power Utilities. A provision of Rs.50,000 crores has been made for funding during XI plan for the Projects under the scheme to be taken up in two parts in urban areas – towns and cities with population of more than 30,000 (10,000 in case of special category states). The scheme also envisage establishment of supervisory control & data acquisition system/ distribution management system in large towns, capacity building, incentive scheme for distribution personnel etc.
In a nutshell, the entire gamut of the operation in power sector will be revolving around better availability of quality power and efficient management of energy while maintaining the eco-friendliness all along. In most advanced countries, power utilities have made major gains in terms of productivity, efficiency, reliability and commercial management through the use of modern IT tools. Information Technology has found application in a wide spectrum of tools that enhance performance in Planning, Operational, Maintenance, Training and Commercial activities in a Power System. Specific Information Systems (IS) in this context include:
- Energy Management Systems (EMS)
- Distribution Automation (DA) Systems
- Planning and Energy Accounting Systems
- Metering and Billing Systems
- Training Systems
- Maintenance Management Systems (MMS)
- Management Information Systems (MIS)
- Power Plant Control Systems
- Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems (SCADA)
The above topics will be dealt one by one in future posts
The primary objective of all the above solutions are three-fold:
- Ensure availability of quality power
- Ensure high operational efficiency
- Maintain ecological balance.
As electricity distribution is the weakest link in the power sector value chain in India, so the main focus of IT implementation in distribution is :
Profitability improvement through
- Revenue enhancement
- Cost reduction
- Shortened consumption to collection time
Improvement in quality of service
- Stable voltage and frequency
- Enhanced customer experience
- Flattening of peak demand curve by better load management
- Optimal operation through tap setting/capacitor switching
- Operational efficiency through effective decision support
AN ASSESSMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY FOR POWER SECTOR. Maitra, Anutosh , Walawalkar , Rahul and Khanna, Anil . MUMBAI
IT Task Force Report for Power Sector. Infosys, IT Task Force.