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Case Study | June 2016

RAPD Turn

RAPDRP has transformed the state power distribution companies and touched 10 million lives across Rajasthan.
Background
Burgeoning Losses in India´s Power Sector

Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses are considered to be an Achilles heel of India´s power sector. Problems in power distribution companies (discom) have accentuated over the years, mainly in the form of inadequate metering and data collection systems in place. AT&C losses of the three Rajasthan discoms are currently at Rs.12,000 crore per year, with the combined losses of the three utilities pegged at Rs.90,000 crore. The utilities have a target to reduce the AT&C losses to 15 per cent in the next five years through continuous improvement.

R-APDRP, launched by the Centre, envisages establishment of baseline data, fixation of accountability, reduction of AT&C losses etc., through strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network and adoption of information technology (IT).

Problems addressed by HCL in Rajasthan through RAPDRP
Rajasthan was the first state in India to facilitate implementation of power reforms by the Ministry of Power under RAPDRP. HCL Infosystems Ltd was awarded the contract.. Under the contract HCL Infosystems was entrusted to achieve the following goals:

  • Improve customer relations and consumer satisfaction.
  • Enable discoms to improve AT&C losses by providing AT&C reports up to DT level.
  • Improve financial viability of state power utilities by providing various operational reports.
  • Increase reliability and quality of power supply by providing measurable reports through AMR.
  • Enhance efficiency of metering, billing and collections through AMR and various validations.

Challenges faced

  • Despite the program in itself aiming to bring transformation in utilities operations, the earlier envisaged duration of 24 months proved to be hugely underestimated for such transformational steps due to mammoth scale of complexities.
  • HCL faced the two-pronged challenges of standardisation and implementing best practices, since it involves three discoms. While they chose to create single Data Center, they continue to have three different IT teams, which were hardly ever in sync on various policy, rules and business logic in the system. It was a challenge to integrate the different processes followed by the three discoms into standardised, uniform process.
  • HCL struggled all along with introducing globally accepted best practices. Besides this, the requirement of Business Process Reengineering (BPR) could hardly be understood by the discom´s IT teams, who found IT architecture and complexities difficult to understand.

Solutions Deployed by HCL
HCL was awarded the RAPDRP IT contract for the three utilities - Jaipur, Jodhpur and Ajmer discoms - in 2009.

  • Solutions: Deployment of AMR, customer care, GIS, metering, billing and collection solutions, besides tools for reducing AT&C losses.
  • Customer Relationship Management: Customers can pay bills online, download current and old bills, check payment history etc.
  • Customer Care Centre: Centralised state-of-the-art customer care centres have been set up to resolve complaints.
  • Energy Audit Report: Backed by improved IT infrastructure, the Jaipur Power Distribution Company published its first Energy Audit Report in early 2016.
  • Secure Intranet: A secure intranet connecting more than 400 sites of the discoms allows only authorised users to access the data center.
  • Modems for hi-end consumers: Modems were installed at high-end consumer locations to receive energy consumption information on an hourly basis. This eliminates the possibility of any diversion or fraud.
  • Centralised Software Application to Managing Multiple MDAS: A centralised software application integrated with multiple Multiple Meter Data Acquisition system (MDAS) that communicates with all other software modules such as billing, energy audit etc., has been developed, with some future ready features.

Key Successes
RAPDRP has touched about 1.1 crore consumers across Rajasthan, to become the largest such project in India. Out of 527 sub-division offices (SDO) in the state, 420 were rolled out as on April 15, 2016 and the remaining 107 discoms are likely to be migrated to RAPDRP system by June 30, 2016.

  • Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd. (JVVNL) has implemented the Energy Audit report solution, generated for approx 4,900 feeders in 11 out of 13 circles, from April-September 2015. It was published on its website (www.jaipurdiscom.com) in January 2016
  • The JVVNL discom is continuously improving consumer indexing data based on this report generated from the system.
  • JVVNL, Ajmer and Jodhpur discoms started CMRI reading for all feeders since August 2015, April 1, 2015 and June 1, 2016 respectively with no human intervention, with collection of readings outsourced to a third party.
  • Through AMR, customers will be billed without any human intervention as the system will receive various alerts captured in the meter.
  • A centralised customer care centre has been set up for all three discoms, which sends real-time communication to customers for all their transactions. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) have been defined to ensure speedy resolutions of the complaints and are available at all levels of the organisation.

Benefits provided by HCL under RAPDRP

  • Installation of modems at high end consumer locations enables effective data analysis and almost eliminates the possibility of any diversion or fraud.
  • End-consumers empowered through correct billing and metering services, online transactional facilities and timely resolution of complaints.
  • Effective and timely customer complaint resolution and tracking through real-time alerts.
  • Advance information to customer through SMS, in case of planned feeder shut down for maintenance.
  • Operational reports in various forms are now available across levels, to help maintain and monitor the system on an almost real-time basis.
  • Faster deployment of AMR solution in the field due to multiple suppliers and multiple teams. AMR solutions also prevent power theft and pilferage by raising events and alerts of such incidences.
  • Centralised software allows mix and match of modems without any geographical boundaries or restrictions.
  • By closely monitoring GPRS packets, HCL can optimise bandwidth requirements (both GPRS and MPLS) and accordingly, not only improve the overall system performance but also optimise the communication cost
  • Centralised software in combination of GPRS packet monitoring software helps design system requirements for future expansion and utilisation
  • Proactive data synchronisation and exception reporting will help identify the data challenges before generation of energy audit reports and other analyses
  • Uploading CMRI reading for all feeder meters under the RAPDRP IT application will ensure that system reports will become trustworthy as all readings will be uploaded in the system with no human intervention.

- Author: Vikram Garg, Senior Vice President - HCL Infosystems Ltd. Views are personal.

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