All our consumers are geospatially tagged

All our consumers are geospatially tagged

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BSES Yamuna Power Limited primarily serves trans-Yamuna and the old Delhi region, which is the Central Delhi and comprises areas like Chandni Chowk, Daryaganj and Paharganj.

Harsh Sharma
Harsh Sharma
Addl. Vice President
BSES Yamuna Power Limited

What’s the area of operation of BSES Yamuna Power Limited?
BSES Yamuna Power Limited primarily serves trans-Yamuna and the old Delhi region, which is the Central Delhi and comprises areas like Chandni Chowk, Daryaganj and Paharganj.

You have successfully incorporated geospatial technology in your company. Why did you opt for this technology and how has it helped you?
The distribution utility is like any other utility where the assets are all spread out in a spatial form. A person who is working in the field or a technical person is able to relate to his assets more when he has the coordinates and location of an asset, than with the help of a number which is called function location in ERP. So it’s easier for him to locate an asset on a map and manage it accordingly or plan various schemes for capacity addition or utilisation and optimisation. It’s easier to model out the network on maps and this model can be imported in various applications. We do this for low floor analysis or analysis for scheme planning etc.

What’s the level of penetration of this technology in your organisation? Is this technology able to help you monitor an outage?
Building up an application is an easy part, absorption of technology or capacity building is challenging. It’s a continuous process and requires training people accordingly. But today we can successfully say that all the engineers in our company use this technology – effectively and efficiently.

In a standalone fashion, GIS has no meaning, hence we have integrated it with SCADA, ERP and our billing system. The inputs from all these applications are received on the GIS platform and help us figure out the possible areas where errors can occur. We are also in the process of automating our sub-stations, that is, 11kw 415 volt which reaches to the end-user. We are installing fault passage indicators and linking it with GIS, so that in case there is fault in our network, it is shown in real-time and thus action can be taken very quickly.

Are streetlights also part of this system? Who is responsible for the maintenance of streetlights in Delhi?
We are the maintenance agency. Streetlights are owned by MCD and PWD. We have a contractual obligation with them whereby we take care of their maintenance and are paid for it. We have plotted all our poles and streetlights on our GIS.

Delhi Police recently released a list that highlighted dark spots where streetlights do not function. What has been done in this regard?
We have information on areas and we have a special team which has been provided with maps. The team keeps a close eye on all the complaints. We are also monitored by our regulators, so we have an obligation to resolve the fault asap, in a definite time line, otherwise we are penalised for it.

We have recently seen a spurt in the number of cases fined for pilfering electricity. How have things improved ever since this technology has been used by the company?
We use a system called energy accounting. All our consumers are geospatially tagged to the transformer from where they are constantly being tracked. We keep track of those transformers where the losses are high. Accordingly, we make plans and initiate action against miscreants by means of raids etc. We also do a lot of other commercial activities like bringing those people on to our billing network by linking them to transformers which are outside their purview and stealing power. It is not a simple exercise but a multi-dimensional exercise. GIS tells us the demography of that area, that is, whether it’s a labour colony or JJ cluster or a commercial/ industrial area, because every area is a different ball game and thus has to be dealt with accordingly.

Now that Delhi Geographical Spatial Data Infrastructure Act 2011 has come into application in the city, how do you think it is going to affect your sector?
We are very excited about it because it will help both ways. We have a problem with other agencies when they are building roads or bridges as they disrupt our power supply by cutting our cables. By having all agencies on one common map, all of us will be benefited. It will help these agencies know where exactly our cables are laid and when we are laying our cables. Similarly, we will get to know about their infrastructure. That’s the reason we shared our entire database with the government. We hope, in future, we will have lesser breakdown and outages.

There was recently a report that BSES has imported a new technology that can predict the demand for power based on demographics of a region and the weather report. I believe it’s called SAS Smart Load Forecaster. Can you tell us about it?
Yes, we have used product called SAS for our short-term power forecasting. We want it to be very close to the actual forecast – we were doing it manually earlier, but now we have a tool. Also, we have put our own weather stations which are an important component in forecasting. We got it from IIT Kanpur. We hope, by coupling weather stations with SAS, we will be able to improve our forecasting by 99.5 per cent.

Can you tell us more about these weather stations?
The whole consumption of power depends on the kind of weather outside. If the temperature and humidity is high, the consumption will go up and vice versa. By having our own weather stations in different parts of Delhi, we will be able to get data online and in real-time. This will help us in predicting tomorrow’s weather, and accordingly deal with the requirements.

Project for under-laying of cables in Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid are major part of the redevelopment project of these areas. When is the work going to begin in this direction? What’s going to be the role of geospatial technology in this project, if any?
In Delhi, it’s now mandatory to use geospatial technology for any scheme/ project that we are involved with or projects we get an approval of. In fact, the project wouldn’t be approved, neither by the Delhi government nor the regulators, if we do not submit the scheme along with the maps to them. So that’s the reason we are forced to use geospatial technology. Further, the technology plays an important role in planning. It helps us identify the shortest and best route for laying the cables underground thus minimising losses. So, both from the point of loss reduction and optimisation of resources to estimation of the amount of material consumed for the purpose, geospatial technology comes in very handy.

Project for under-laying of cables in Chandni Chowk and Jama Masjid, has been approved by the administration, the money has also been promised, and we are in the planning stage at this moment.

Can you share with us some of the current projects that you are involved in at present?
We are working on a project called Smart sub-station. We believe that the consumer is entitled to the quality and reliable power 24X7. This can only happen if we are able to prevent an outage (not resolve but prevent an outage), so we are using all our sensors for the purpose. It’s like measuring human body temperature before human body fails, that is, knowing about a disease earlier and giving it the right medicine and at the right time – this is how we are looking at it. We are integrating it with GIS applications, to ensure that whenever we send a message to our lineman, it should go with a map, so that he is also pre-informed and knows exactly where he has to reach and where he has to solve the problem. That’s one project about which we are very excited. We will soon be completing it for all our sub-stations, we have already done it for 100 sub-stations.

The second project which we are doing is not GIS, but for the first time, we are building a distribution simulator. We want to simulate our distribution network and train our new executives on these simulators before they are sent in the field. We do not want to experiment in the field. Nobody has thought of a distribution simulator till date and we are working on it. So that’s another project we are very excited about.

We are also working on increasing efficiency of our SCADA considerably. Today, all the sensors in our grid stations are micro-processor controlled and we are trying to link them to SCADA to have a better disaster management as well as awareness of that sub-station.

These are the few projects we are working on. In addition, we are working on our loss reduction project where we use GIS extensively. It is called Leap. We have identified 333 distribution transformers where the losses are more than 40 per cent in the company. Our target is to reduce it to less than 20 per cent. In this project, GIS has helped us understand the demography of the transformers which is feeding those areas and the kind of social re-engineering that we have to do. It is not only the technical barriers that we have to overcome, but also the social mindset. We have to make people understand that electricity is not free and that they are suppose to pay for it. Since government provides us water and roads, many people in Delhi think it’s the responsibility of government to give us electricity.