MPPKVVCL: Focusing on technology adoption to improve operations

Focusing on technology adoption to improve operations

Madhya Pradesh has been providing its residents 24×7 power since 2013 – an achievement that can be credited largely to the state’s distribution companies. These include Madhya Pradesh Paschim Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Company Limited (MPPKVVCL), which distributes power across 15 districts in the state. As of March 2017, the discom’s distribution network comprised 17,256 km of 33 kV lines, around 120,797 km of 11 kV lines and 166,183 km of low-tension (LT) lines. The utility had 1,409 33/11 kV substations and 2,535 power transformers. A review of the discom’s operations and initiatives to improve its power supply…

Consumer mix and energy sales

MPPKVVCL caters to over 4.76 million consumers. Its consumer mix is dominated by domestic consumers, who account for 68 per cent of its total consumer base. The agricultural/irrigation pumpset segment follows next, accounting for 23 per cent of the total. Non-domestic consumers account for 7 per cent, and LT and high-tension (HT) industries, waterworks and street lighting account for the rest.

With regard to energy sales, irrigation pumpsets account for the maximum share (46 per cent), followed by HT consumers (22 per cent) and domestic consumers (21 per cent). Non-domestic consumers account for 6 per cent of the total sales, while LT industries account for 3 per cent, and public waterworks and street lighting for 2 per cent. As far as metering is concerned, nearly 77 per cent of the discom’s consumers are metered, and the remaining 23 per cent (including nearly 1 million agricultural consumers) are unmetered.

Progress under government schemes

MPPKVVCL has taken several initiatives under various central government schemes as well as independently. Under the feeder segregation initiative, the discom has separated all 2,853 feeders, thereby benefitting 11,297 villages across the region. In addition, it has built an IT backbone under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP), now subsumed under the Integrated Development Power Scheme (IPDS).

The discom has also implemented “ProjectWIN” to complement R-APDRP implementation for computerisation in all offices, setting up of necessary IT systems for operations and the adoption of industry best practices.

The discom has benefitted significantly from the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana. It has saved Rs 2.3 billion in interest costs owing to the takeover of debt worth Rs 21.75 billion by the state government.

Focus on consumer services

MPPKVVCL has taken steps to enhance customer services. To this end, it has launched the Urjas web portal and app, and the Twarit helpline. Urjas provides an efficient and transparent platform for consumers to register their requests online for various services. Further, it enables time-bound processing and resolution of registered applications. Since its launch in August 2015, over 236,000 applications have been received on Urjas, of which 93 per cent were resolved within the stipulated time limit. Under Twarit, the discom has set up a single-point access number, 1912, to register and track complaints. Till date, over 722,000 complaints have been received, of which, 88 per cent were resolved within two hours of registration while 94 per cent of the complaints were resolved within three hours.

In addition, bijli panchayats have been formed in rural areas for spot resolution of grievances relating to metering, billing and collection. Further, requests for availing of new service connections can be raised online or through 24×7 call centres.

MPPKVVCL has also developed a remote disconnection unit (RDU), which is a pole-mounted device capable of communicating with a head-end system over GPRS (general packet radio service). RDU is an in-house solution that allows remote disconnection/reconnection of power supply to the consumer, without any manual intervention.

T&D loss reduction

MPPKVVCL has undertaken various initiatives to reduce transmission and distribution (T&D) losses. These include feeder separation, reconductoring, transformer management, service line replacement and installation of capacitors. On the transformer management front, the utility has implemented a renovation scheme, which has reduced the transformer failure rate from 26 per cent to 10 per cent. All these measures have resulted in the reduction of T&D losses from 28.62 per cent in 2009-10 to 18.31 per cent in 2016-17.

The discom has also developed an in-house energy accounting software, as it was not satisfied with the energy audit reports being generated by the R-APDRP system. It, therefore, developed an easier system, integrated with the existing data to generate accurate reports. After successful trials in one division, the energy accounting software is now being implemented across all divisions of the discom.

SCADA experience

MPPKVVCL has made significant progress in the deployment of the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. It is implementing SCADA in Indore and Ujjain. The project entails the integration of 72 33/11 kV substations in Indore and 20 33/11 kV substations in Ujjain with their respective control centres.

So far, control centres have been operationalised and remote terminal units (RTUs) and local data monitoring systems have been commissioned across a specified number of substations in both the cities. In addition, five remote monitoring units have been installed in Indore. Further, two fault passage indicators (FPI) have been installed in Indore and the integration of FPI with the SCADA system has been completed.

The SCADA control room has been functional in Indore for over two years now and is being operated in three shifts on a 24×7 basis. Indore’s distribution network has five divisions and accordingly, its SCADA control centre has been divided into five sections with a supervisor for each. All 72 33/11 kV substations have been integrated with the SCADA control room and they are being monitored and controlled on a 24×7 basis.

MPPKVVCL has derived several benefits from the SCADA implementation. SCADA has enabled real-time monitoring of all the 33/11 kV substations in Indore. Parameters such as DC voltage, load current of feeders and transformers, substation power supply status, breaker status and spring charge status of substations can be easily monitored by the utility. All substation operations including breaker functions and relay resets are now being carried out from the SCADA control centre.

Issues and challenges

The high cost of power procurement (at Rs 3.16 per unit) is a key challenge faced by MPPKVVCL. Although the gap between the average cost of supply and average revenue realised has declined from Re 0.92 per unit to Re 0.86 per unit, it is still high. Further, power demand has declined, resulting in the backing down of power, which leads to a huge fixed cost outgo. In addition, the discom has been losing its high revenue-paying consumers such as the railways and HT consumers to open access, which has significantly impacted its income. For instance, the railways’ switch to open access power has resulted in a revenue loss of Rs 2.45 million for the discom.

Further, the discom’s revenue growth has been hampered by the slow growth of the industrial and commercial sectors in the state. Another key issue is the high aggregate, technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of 19.48 per cent, owing mainly to thefts, defective billing and the non-payment of bills.

On the technology front, the key challenges include selection of the right technology for the deployment of advanced metering infrastructure, standardisation and inter-operability issues, legacy meters with limited communication functionalities, as well data security and integrity concerns. Other challenges include ambitious renewable purchase obligation targets (7 per cent non-solar and 1.5 per cent solar) and grid stability issues owing to the increasing share of renewables in the energy mix. In addition, the lack of skilled labour also hampers the discom’s growth.

The way forward

MPPKVVCL plans to improve its distribution infrastructure and extend last mile connectivity to unelectrified households under schemes such as the IPDS, the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana and Saubhagya. It is also planning to introduce private participation in distribution; in fact, several pilot projects have been initiated for this purpose.

Going forward, the discom will continue making efforts to reduce its AT&C losses, improve billing and customer services, and implement smart technologies in its operations.

Based on presentations by Dr Murhari Kele, Director (Technical); and Achal Jain, Superintending Engineer (R-APDRP and SCADA), MPPKVVCL, at a recent Power Line conference