After undertaking a number of e-governance initiatives in the middle of Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) technical arm, the National Informatics Centre has designed and developed National Power Portal, a unified system for the power sector.
The power portal has facilitated continuous monitoring of AT&C losses under RAPDRP scheme which has led to an improvement in reduction of aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C) loss of around 4.95 per cent in quarter two as compared to 2.28 per cent in quarter one of 2020-21 FY and Annual Average Monthly Outage hours on monitored urban feeders in quarter two was 5.62 hrs/month as compared 7.62 hr/month in the last quarter.
The NPP also monitors the growth of transmission lines and transformation capacity across the country. Total 8,094 Ckms of transmission line and 20,580 MVA of transformation capacity in substations (220kV and above voltage levels) have been added during the current fiscal 2020-21 (upto October 31, 2020), resulting in all India transmission network of 4,32,785 ckms of transmission lines and 986,643 MVA of the transformation capacity in substations (220kV and above voltage level) as on October 31, 2020.
Vishnu Chandra, Deputy Director General, NIC says, “The power sector data earlier lay scattered on different platforms. Users had to surf a lot to locate the required data. The correctness of data collected for analysis and planning purposes was very critical. So, the power ministry envisioned that the power sector should have a single source of truth to capture and disseminate information. The portal is a step towards that direction automating various processes related to generation, transmission and distribution. Data is being captured on the NPP across the country on capacity, generation, transmission lines, transformation capacity, power supply position, coal availability, and funds disbursement under different schemes. The NPP platform has been strengthened to capture data from source without manual intervention and striving for continuous improvements to enrich the NPP dashboard with real time data availability. This also provides GIS interface using NIC’s Bharatmaps platform as well as advanced analytics.”
The portal has been designed and developed using open source technologies. SMS and email services are used to send alerts, messages to utilities to improve and expedite the data entry process. National Power Database Management System (NPDMS) (https://npdms.gov.in), a core backend system of unified NPP is used to capture online data via APIs and web enabled forms from generation, transmission and distribution utilities across the country. NPDMS is embedded with Role Based Access Control (RBAC) to provide restricted access as per role assigned to various utilities. Various APIs under NPDMS have also been published to provide important power sector information to various utilities and many are in the pipeline to fulfil the requirements of NITI Aayog.
Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, data exchange using IoT devices and data analytics are the fastest growing technologies which are likely to transform the way we live and work. Using Modems (IoT devices) on urban and rural feeders, power supply information is being pushed to the NPP without manual intervention and is being analysed and insights are published on the NPP dashboard. Based on historical data, power outages on a feeder also predicted for the upcoming month using artificial intelligence.
The Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), Generation Utilities (GENCOs), Transmission Utilities (TRANSCOs), and Distribution Utilities (DISCOMs) are the major stakeholders of the NPP (https://npp.gov.in) and CEA is the nodal agency for the implementation of the NPP.
A significant challenge faced by DISCOMs in India is the increasing AT&C, which are primarily, caused by power theft, poor payment billing and collection procedures, and inadequate tariff hikes. It is a key parameter to improve the financial health of the DISCOMs. Monitoring of 11kV urban and rural feeders parameters is essential not only for effective supply maintenance but also for focussed reduction of AT&C losses. Out of almost 41,409 urban feeders and 1,15,375 rural feeders onboarded on the NPP, 36,958 (89 per cent) urban feeders and 81,131 (70 percent) rural feeders are communicating as on October 31, 2020.
The NPP provides the status of average hours of power supply as more than 20 hours in 74 per cent rural and mixed feeders and 50 per cent in agriculture feeders during October 2020.
Bharatmap (Multilayer GIS platform of NIC) enabled navigation, visualisation dashboard disseminates analysed information about the sector through chart windows on capacity, generation, transmission, distribution at national, state, DISCOM, town, feeder level, and scheme based funding to states. The dashboard also facilitates various types of statutory reports required to be published regularly and act as the single point interface for all power sector apps launched earlier by the Ministry such as TARANG, UJALA, VIDYUT PRAVAH, SAUBHAGYA , URJA, MERIT ORDER DESPATCH.
The NPP is facilitating all the stakeholders of thermal plants to monitor the supply and availability of coal in pithead and non-pithead plants so that the plants have coal stock as per norms. The coal stock position of all the power plants, having coal linkages, are being monitored on a daily basis and daily reports are published on the NPP. Moreover, the power plants including plants designed on imported coal, plants having dedicated coal blocks and plants getting coal through e-auctions apart from the plants having coal linkages are monitored on a monthly basis and the report is published on the NPP. As on October 31, 2020, the total coal stock available with the 134 number of plants stood at 36.65 million tonnes (MT).
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