Strengthening Distribution: Government schemes encourage IT implementation

Government schemes encourage IT implementation

The integration of information technology (IT) in distribution infrastructure is imperative to reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses and ensure reliable power supply, among other things. Taking this into cognisance, the central government is implementing schemes such as the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP), the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), and the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM). To encourage the discoms to undertake IT initiatives on a larger scale, these government schemes provide funds to them for the time-bound implementation of projects.

Power Line provides an update on these government schemes for IT implementation in the distribution segment – R-APDRP (now subsumed in the IPDS), IPDS and NSGM…


The R-APDRP was launched in 2008 with the aim of setting up a reliable automated system for the collection of baseline data by deploying IT in energy accounting. It covers all urban towns and cities with a population of more than 30,000 (as per Census 2001). In the case of special category states (Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the north-eastern states) the population limit is 10,000. The scheme entails an outlay of Rs 515.77 billion, including Rs 500 billion as loan from the central government or financial institutions.

The execution of projects under the R-APDRP is split into two parts. Part A includes projects for the establishment of baseline data and IT applications for energy accounting/auditing and for the setting up of IT-based consumer service centres. Broadly, projects under Part A of the scheme pertain to consumer indexing, geographic information system mapping, metering of distribution transformers (DTs) and feeders, automatic data logging for DTs and feeders, deployment of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA)/distribution management system (DMS), introduction of IT applications (for meter reading, billing and collection), setting up of a management information systems, setting up mechanisms for redressal of consumer grievances, and asset mapping of the distribution network. The eligibility for the implementation of SCADA/DMS is restricted to cities with a population of more than 0.40 million and an annual energy input of more than 350 MUs.

On the other hand, Part-B of the scheme includes regular distribution strengthening projects such as renovation, modernisation and strengthening of substations, reconductoring of lines and aerial bunched conductoring in dense areas.

As of July 2016, under Part A (IT) of the R-APDRP, 1,225 towns (out of 1,405) have achieved go-live status. A total of Rs 54.1 billion has been sanctioned for Part A (IT), of which Rs 29.36 billion has been released. State-wise, all towns in 16 states (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Gujarat, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tripura) have achieved go-live status and some towns in nine states (Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Goa) have achieved go-live status. Meanwhile, in five states (Rajasthan, Odisha, Puducherry, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland) less than 10 per cent of the towns have achieved go-live status. The remaining (159) towns are expected to achieve go-live status by 2016-17.

On the other hand, under Part A (SCADA), the SCADA control centres have been commissioned in 45 towns (out of 72 towns) as of July 2016. For this part, Rs 15.56 billion has been sanctioned, of which Rs 4.61 billion has been disbursed.

Overall, verification by a third party of work under Part-A has been completed in only three states – Chhattisgarh, Sikkim and West Bengal.

Meanwhile, Part B project work under the scheme has been completed in 425 towns (out of 1,221). Under this, Rs 306.93 billion has been sanctioned, of which Rs 53.85 billion has been released.


The IPDS was approved by the Union cabinet in November 2014 with the aim of augmenting the urban sub-transmission and distribution networks, and improving the quality and reliability of power supply. The key components under the scheme are strengthening of the sub-transmission and distribution networks, metering of DTs/feeders/ consumers and IT enablement of the distribution sector. The scheme subsumes the R-APDRP as the component pertaining to the IT enablement of the distribution sector.

The IPDS entails a total outlay of around Rs 326 billion (excluding the R-APDRP), including gross budgetary support of Rs 253 billion from the centre. The outlay for R-APDRP works is Rs 440 billion, including budgetary support of Rs 227.27 billion.

As of August 2016, the IPDS has been rolled out in 27 states across 486 project areas covering 3,556 towns. The projects entail a total cost of Rs 253.3 billion, including a government grant of Rs 156.96 billion, of which Rs 5.05 billion has been released.

Under the IPDS, the scope of IT enablement of towns has been extended to statutory towns with a population above 5,000 (as per Census 2011), which adds up to more than 2,600 towns in the urban area. However, the utilities can take up IT enablement for the additional towns only after completing Part A of the R-APDRP towns and verification by a third party.

The IT system set up for R-APDRP towns provides adequate provision in the design of data centres (DCs)/disaster recovery centres (DRCs) for meeting the requirement of the entire state. Therefore, for IT enablement of additional towns only certain incremental expenditure is required in the existing DCs/DRCs to derive benefit from the IT-based system for energy accounting and auditing.

In addition to IT-enablement of towns, enterprise resource planning (ERP) under the IPDS will be rolled out for strengthening the sub-transmission and distribution network. The entire IT infrastructure created at DCs/DRCs under the R-APDRP will be utilised for implementing ERP. The functions envisaged under ERP include human resource management, finance and accounts, material purchase and storage.

Another key IT initiative under the IPDS is monitoring of 11 kV feeders through the national power portal (NPP). Over 31,000 feeders are proposed to be monitored through the NPP for towns sanctioned under the R-APDRP. As of August 2016, around 14,871 feeders have been integrated with the NPP.

Some of the other IT-related initiatives under the IPDS are installation of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in towns where SCADA is being established under the R-APRDP and advanced meter reading (AMR) for feeders, DTs and high load consumers.

Under the IPDS, a mobile app aimed at enhancing consumers’ connect with the urban power distribution sector has been launched. The app, named Urban Jyoti Abhiyan Mobile URJA has been developed by the Power Finance Corporation on behalf of the Ministry of Power. The app provides information to consumers on power outage, timely release of connections, addressing complaints, and power reliability.


The NSGM was launched in May 2015 to promote the development of a smart grids in the country. The mission provides an overarching framework for planning and monitoring the implementation of policies and programmes for smart grid activities. The mission entails implementation of a smart grid based on state-of-the art technology in the fields of automation, communication and IT systems that can monitor and control power flows from points of generation to points of consumption.

The mission entails a total outlay of Rs 9.8 billion, including budgetary support of Rs 3.38 billion. Up to 30 per cent of the project cost for most components is provided as a grant under the NSGM budget. For selected components such as training and capacity building, the government funding is up to 100 per cent.

Under the NSGM, two smart grid projects entailing a total cost of Rs 1.19 billion (with 30 per cent funding from the central government) have been approved. These smart projects are located at Amravati in Maharashtra and at the Chandigarh Electricity Department (CED) in Chandigarh.

The smart grid project at CED, Chandigarh, entails an approved project cost of Rs 285.8 million with support of Rs 86 million from the central government. The project will have functionalities such as AMI, DT monitoring and substation automation, and will cover 29,433 consumers. Meanwhile, the smart grid project at Amravati, Maharashtra, entails an approved project cost of Rs 900.5 million, with central government’s support of Rs 270.2 million. The project will have functionalities like AMI and outage management system and will cover 148,495 consumers.

Besides this, 14 pilot projects are being implemented at various locations in the country. As of July 2016, nine projects (Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation Limited, Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam, Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Board, Assam Power Distribution Company Limited, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited, West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, Tripura State Electricity Corporation Limited, Telangana State Southern Power Distribution Company Limited and Puducherry Electricity Department). One project is under award (Uttar Gujarat Vij Company Limited) and four projects have been cancelled (Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited, Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Company Limited, Kerala State Electricity Board and Jaipur Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited)

To conclude, the schemes aimed at IT enablement of the distribution sector are progressing well, especially with regular monitoring by the government. These schemes are likely to yield positive results in the near future.