GIS reforms power scenario in Tamil Nadu

GIS reforms power scenario in Tamil Nadu



This article describes the use of geospatial technology in R-APDRP (Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reform Program) project at Tenkasi Municipality town by Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Ltd (TNEB) for improving the power scenario through electrical network mapping and consumer surveying. GIS is spearheading the distribution reforms network mapping, asset creation, work management, ensuring billing and collection efficiency and cordial and effective consumer relationships. In Tenkasi town, all consumers (all tariff categories) were surveyed and mapped using geospatial technology. The objective of GIS mapping and indexing of the consumers was to identify the location of consumer installation on geographical map from the respective distribution transformer (DT). The connectivity was established from a substation (SS), feeder, DT. This aims to ensure attention on fuse of call, voltage fluctuation and default in payment of current consumption (CC) bill, in particular service connection, metre functioning through automatic meter reader (AMR), energy theft, HT/LT lines, overloading of distribution transformers etc. in an efficient manner. Out of total consumers, this was categorised and indexed section wise, distribution zone wise, tariff wise consumer incorporated and electrical asset network mapping was also indexed using geospatial technology. For locating and marking the substation equipment, it was segregated feeder-wise and distribution transformer wise i.e. Consumer Index Number (CIN) was assigned. Apart from this, the T & D (transmission and distribution) loses in electrical network are also likely to reduce gradually by accounting of energy in substations, feeders, distribution transformers and transmission lines at the end- consumer level. Geospatial technology is poised to surely improve the revenue of TNEB and consumer satisfaction.


Geospatial technology is emerging as a technology to reckon with in diverse applications, with decision making becoming more informed and scientific. It has been identified as one of the three most important emerging fields along with nanotechnology and biotechnology because of its ability to provide unbiased, reliable, repetitive and synoptic nature of data as well as tools for integration of information for analysis, which is very useful in the management and monitoring of natural resources. This article analyses how GIS is being used in R-APDRP (Restructured-Accelerated Power Development and Reform Program) project at Tenkasi Municipality town for improving the power scenario through electrical network mapping and consumer surveying.

Problems faced

AT & C losses are in the range of above 15% in Tenkasi Town and the present problem statements are:

  • Inefficient supply of electricity
  • Inordinate time consumption is attending faults
  • Electricity theft
  • AT & C loss management
  • High involvement of manpower

These problems can be largely addressed by the use of GIS.

Objectives of the study

The present paper aims to highlight the following set of objectives:

  • To assess the status of use of geospatial technology in Tenkasi Municipality area.
  • To understand the distribution reforms of electrical network mapping and consumer surveying using geospatial technology
  • To study how GIS can help to reduce losses and to improve energy efficiency through its following contributions.

GIS component in RAPDRP

The GIS part in RAPDRP includes four components namely base map preparation, asset mapping, consumer indexing through DGPS survey and integration of GIS-based digital electricity network as depicted below.

Base map

The base map was created for the project areas using DigitalGlobe satellite imagery. The following steps were involved in the generation of large-scale digital base map using high-resolution satellite data:

  • Procurement of satellite imagery
  • Control point survey using DGPS – geodetic quality dual frequency GPS
  • Geo-rectification/geo-referencing of the satellite imagery
  • Capturing the base map features as per the specifications
  • Topology creation and attribute linking
  • Seamless base map generation

Tenkasi Project Town under R-APDRP

Field mapping

The purpose of this was to create, edit and use GIS maps in the field. One important aspect of field mapping is to plot out the ground reality on the map. The GIS expertise works as follows:

  • The town boundary identification and mapping within the project area i.e. ring fencing is provided.
  • Digitisation of base layers including roads, railways, rivers, canals, water bodies, buildings.
  • Collection of important landmarks like government offices, religious places, road crossings etc to update the map
  • DGPS survey of sub meter accuracy of substations ex. 110/11KV at Tenkasi substation with attributes in the prescribed format. There are three 11kv feeders at Tenkasi substation. In these three feeders, all the technical attributes such as pole, conductor, type, length etc. were mapped onto the geo-referenced satellite data on a scale of 1:2000 in electrical network. GPS survey was done to capture the location and attribute information about poles, distribution transformers (DTs) and lines etc acquired from the field.
  • Identification and mapping of HT (high tension) feeders and collection of attributes such as type of poles, size of conductor etc. through DGPS survey.
  • Identification and mapping of LT (low tension) feeders through DGPS survey and collection of all attributes associated with LT poles.
  • Attribute details of network: 11KV HT/LT line diagram with ACSR conductor size and length, cable size, DTs capacity, parameters of the equipments, HT/LT poles / pillars.
  • Distribution transformer details: The details about transformers such as voltage ratio, capacity, and feeder details etc.
  • This network database has a linkage with consumer data base.
  • Identification and mapping of all consumers with meters through door-to-door survey.
  • Codification of all assets and consumers as per codification scheme in the distribution network analysis.
  • Assets codes of all assets such as DTs, poles, were legibly painted on the asset as per specified colour code preparation etc to be done before painting.
  • The soft and hard copy as per requirements of the utility were generated.
  • Consumer details: This involves identification of all service numbers, address of the consumers, the LT pole number/pillar box number to which consumer is connected.

GIS-based consumer database indexing

There are 23,927 services in Tenkasi town, which are categorised as tariff war, feeder war, DT war. These are indexed with consumer profile. This activity includes:

  • Plotting the base map with important landmarks as labels for data collection purposes
  • Collecting information from DTs, poles, consumers etc.
  • Data entry made in the field forms
  • Attributing of all information in GIS
  • Creating the data model

Statistics on total sanctioned load and no of consumers

M/s Navayuga Infotech Pvt. Ltd. conducted the survey for asset network mapping and consumer indexing activities utilizing GIS. This activity has been satisfactorily completed.

Initial benefits of GIS mapping at TNEB

TNEB observed the following benefits:

  • It was able to clearly ascertain the location of all consumers and their distribution spatially.
  • The connectivity and spread of consumers of one distribution zone to other zones were clearly identified and rectified.
  • The organisation was able to extract the number and details of consumers connected to a specific transformer and poles.
  • It was able to have a centralised HT and LT network album and was able to plan the location of new transformer erection based on the spatial distribution of network and consumers.
  • TNEB was able to extract the different categories of consumers based on the tariff category, consumption (HT / LT / LTCT / agri / hut / industrial / commercial etc).
  • TNEB was able to assess the sanctioned load of various consumers for a DT against the DT capacity, identifying the DT load and planning for revised network connectivity.
  • The organisation could identify and locate the missing consumers based on LT billing database and was able to locate / identify the defaulters and their spatial distribution. As few towns are rolled out for go-live with complete enterprise operations, TNEB was able to identify the peak load of given transformer and able to analyse the power requirements and reasons based on the spatial distribution and connected consumers
  • TNEB was able to identify the location of consumers and reasons during fuse of call service.
  • When the HT consumers and DT’s are connected with AMR and modem with SIM’s, the energy recordings took place in near real time and the organisation was able to spatially plot the energy consumption of different meters.

On successful implementation and further rollout, TNEB expects the GIS implementation to help it in

  • Efficiently managing power supply
  • Locating the fault on line, service mains
  • Attending faults in minimum time
  • Identifying and reducing the theft / waste.
  • Providing consumer satisfaction
  • Improving image of the organisation


It is evident from the preceding discussion that geospatial technology has emerged as a powerful and imperative system in R-APDRP. GIS is used for asset mapping and consumer indexing and thus the whole power distribution system has greatly enhanced the efficiency in energy sector and to improve the reliability of the whole power system. GIS can play a strong role in managing the “smart grid” and it is the complete installation of smart meters which implies an intelligent electric delivery system that responds to the needs and directly communicates with consumers. The tariff-wise consumer profile load details, in each feeder can be calculated through GIS for accounting of total energy sold out and it can evaluate the AT&C loss. Consumer details can be updated and revenue billing and collection and future load demand can be calculated.

The ATC losses are computed to be around 16% in the initial results (2012-2013) from the pilot town and the refinements being made after the study of results along with the GIS network and consumer mapping and the installation of HVDS (high voltage distribution system), by strengthening of conductors, the losses are expected to be reduced from 16% to 10 % in the coming months. GIS can effectively be used to manage and monitor information on the distribution of electricity to end-users.

The use of GIS in power distribution network has greatly improved the efficiency in energy sector; improving the reliability of distribution network. This study is to improve the understanding and networking of electricity power distribution in an efficient manner. The electricity distribution facilities, such as power lines, transformers, service mains are involved in the distribution of energy to the end-users with the aid of variety of information can be better organised on the computer system linking the master data base to an output map. This information helps in spatial decision making and is easily updateable for the needs of large power distribution network. This geographical data can be used for the purpose of studying and analysing the present power scenario. Hence it plays a strong role in smart grids.


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