Towards Reliable Power: Government schemes strengthen distribution through IT integration

Government schemes strengthen distribution through IT integration

The power distribution segment has been plagued with several problems including high aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses and unreliable power supply. The integration of information technology (IT) into distribution infrastructure is one of the key measures to overcome these issues. To this end, the central government has initiated various schemes from time to time. These include the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP), the Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS) and the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM).

Power Line provides an update on these government schemes for IT implementation in the distribution segment…


The R-APDRP was launched in July 2008 with the aim of setting up a reliable automated system for the collection of baseline data by deploying IT solutions for energy accounting in urban areas. The projects under the R-APDRP are being executed in two parts. Part A includes IT-based projects for the establishment of baseline data for energy accounting/ auditing and for the setting up of consumer service centres. Meanwhile, Part B of the scheme includes sub-transmission and distribution network strengthening.

Broadly, projects under Part A of the scheme pertain to consumer indexing, geographic information system (GIS) mapping, metering of distribution transformers (DTs) and feeders, automatic data logging for all DTs and feeders, and the deployment of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems/ distribution management systems (DMS). Part A involves the adoption of IT applications for meter reading, billing and collection, energy accounting and auditing, redressal of consumer grievances, and establishment of IT-enabled consumer service centres. It also includes the asset mapping of the entire distribution network at and below the 11 kV level including DTs and feeders, low tension lines, poles and other network equipment.

The scheme entails an outlay of Rs 515.77 billion, including Rs 500 billion as loan from the central government. Of the Rs 500 billion, Rs 100 billion was earmarked for Part A of the project, while Rs 400 billion was earmarked for Part B. In November 2014, the R-APDRP was subsumed in the IPDS as the third component of the new scheme.

As of July 2017, a total of Rs 53.74 billion has been sanctioned for Part A (IT), of which Rs 34.16 billion has been released. 1,356 out of the 1,405 eligible towns (96.5 per cent) have achieved go-live status. State-wise, all towns in 23 states (Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Gujarat, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tripura) have achieved the go-live status.

Meanwhile, relatively fewer towns have achieved go-live status in states like Jammu & Kashmir (50 per cent), Tamil Nadu (92.7 per cent), Mizoram (67 per cent), Arunachal Pradesh (60 per cent) and Nagaland (67 per cent). However, no town has achieved this status in Odisha (12 eligible towns) and Puducherry (4 eligible towns).

The remaining towns (49) are expected to achieve go-live status by March 2018. With regard to SCADA implementation, Rs 12.51 billion has been sanctioned, of which Rs 4.32 billion has been disbursed as of July 2017. SCADA control centres have been commissioned in 52 towns (out of 72 towns). All SCADA projects are required to be closed by March 2018, including the third-party independent evaluation agency (TPIEA) verification and the submission of closure report with utilisation certificates (UCs).

Overall, third-party verification under Part A has been completed in nine states: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Uttarakhand, West Bengal and Sikkim. These states were required to submit closure reports with UCs by July 2017. As per the current status of projects, other states have also been given a deadline of June 2018 to submit their closure reports. For seven states, namely, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, the deadline for the completion of TPIEA-IT verification is September 2017 and for the submission of closure reports with UC is December 2017. Meanwhile, Goa, Jharkhand and Rajasthan need to submit their closure reports by March 2018 and the deadline for the remaining states including Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Jammu & Kashmir, Odisha and the north-eastern states is June 2018.


The IPDS was launched in November 2014  with the aim of augmenting the urban sub-transmission and distribution networks, and improving the quality and reliability of power supply in urban areas. The key components under the scheme include the strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution networks, metering of DTs/feeders/consumers and IT enablement of distribution network. Under IT enablement, the Twelfth and Thirteenth Plan period targets have been subsumed under the IPDS and the scope has been extended to all urban towns as per Census 2011 (apart from the 1,405 towns covered under the R-APDRP), taking the total number of towns covered to more than 2,600.

The IPDS entails a total outlay of around Rs 326 billion (excluding the planned outlay of the R-APDRP). Of this, Rs 253 billion will be granted by the centre. As of August 2017, the IPDS has been rolled out in 27 states across 500 projects covering over 3,600 towns. The projects entail a total cost of Rs 259.1 billion, including a government grant of Rs 160.6 billion, of which Rs 33.8 billion has been released.

In addition to IT enablement of towns, enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, based on the IT infrastructure created at data centres and disaster recovery centres under the R-APDRP, will be rolled out for strengthening the sub-transmission and distribution network under the IPDS. The functions envisaged under ERP deployment 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). Around 31,000 urban feeders were taken up for monitoring under the R-APDRP, and another 12,000 have been included under IT enablement Phase II of IPDS. As of August 2017, 31,942 urban feeders are IT-enabled of which 30,638 feeders are already integrated into the NPP. Of the total integrated feeders, about 90 per cent have been feeding data to the portal on a monthly basis. The projected timeline for the integration of all feeders into the NPP is March 2018.

Further, the Urban Jyoti Abhiyaan (URJA) mobile application has been launched under the IPDS. It is aimed at enhancing consumer connect with the urban power distribution segment. URJA provides data on consumer complaints, new connections, power reliability, scheduled outages, e-payment and power loss/theft. It has made project implementation and monitoring more transparent and effective.

The government has also launched a short code (1912) to register consumer complaints and 57 out of 62 discoms have already adopted this code. Utilities that are yet to initiate the service include four public discoms, namely, Meghalaya Energy Distribution Corporation Limited, the Power and Electricity Department of Mizoram, Department of Power, Nagaland, and Department of Power, Arunachal Pradesh; and one private discom – Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited. The government is also working towards digitising payments in the power distribution segment. As of June 2017, about 26 per cent of the revenue in the go-live towns was registered through e-payments. The revenue share is predicted to be 50 per cent by December 2017.


The NSGM was launched in May 2015 to promote the development of smart grids based on state-of-the-art technology in the fields of automation, communication and IT systems. Such systems enable the monitoring and control of power flows from points of generation to points of consumption. The mission entails a total outlay of Rs 9.8 billion, including a budgetary support of Rs 3.38 billion. Up to 30 per cent of the project cost is provided as a grant (for most components) under the NSGM. For select components such as training and capacity building, the government funding is up to 100 per cent.

Under the NSGM, four smart grid projects entailing a total cost of Rs 4.5 billion (with 30 per cent funding from the central government) have been approved. These projects are located at Amravati (Rs 0.9 billion) and Congress Nagar (Rs 0.07 billion) in Maharashtra, Chandigarh (Rs 0.28 billion under the Chandigarh Electricity Department), and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh (Rs 3.2 billion). The technologies planned under these projects focus on advanced metering infrastructure, DT monitoring, substation automation, peak load management, outage management and demand response. Apart from this, 10 pilot projects, partially funded by the Ministry of Power, are also being implemented at various locations across the country.

IT enablement of the power distribution segment through these schemes has resulted in positive outcomes such as reduction in AT&C losses, decline in the number and duration of outages, faster consumer connections and redressal of consumer complaints, and digitisation of payments. While there has been delay in the implementation of the schemes, they have made significant progress. With increased monitoring by the government, the schemes are expected to show better results going forward.

Ankita Gupta