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Category "electricity"


Smart and pre-paid metering

by Team Digireach

How do we make the existing state utilities more efficient and bring down their losses? Smart prepaid electricity meters are one of the answers.

This step is likely to bring revolution in power sector by way of reduction in AT&C losses, better health of DISCOMs, incentivising energy conservation, ease of bill payments and doing away with the paper bills.

Smart meters are a part of the overall advanced metering infrastructure solutions (AMI) aimed at better demand response designed to reduce energy consumption during peak hours.

India plans to change all electricity meters to prepaid smart meters by 2022. This step taken by the government is to address the issue of energy efficiency and optimization. Electricity is the need of the hour. Electric power generation is a prime component in the development of a nation. It is the base to move any developmental activity in the right direction. Hence, it is being addressed on an urgent basis with help of schemes like IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme), RT DAS (Real-time Data Acquisition System). Energy metering system etc.

  • The government believes that the plan will increase distribution substation capacity by 38% by 2022

India has a beleaguered power sector. Proper monitoring and tracking of energy usage via smart meters would go a long way in addressing the problems of the existing energy infrastructure. The strategy is part of the government’s electricity distribution plan prepared by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India’s apex power sector planning body, and comes at a time when the new government is trying to step up its efforts to supply 24×7 power to all.

Creating a smart meter architecture minimises human intervention in metering, billing and collection process and helps in reducing theft by identifying loss pockets. It requires a two-way communication network, control centre equipment and software applications that enable near real-time gathering and transfer of energy usage information.

Smart metering would empower consumers with tools to help them conserve energy and plan their electricity usage in an efficient and optimum manner.

The plan of introducing smart meters is part of government’s plan to fix the power sector in the country. Stopping the unwanted pilferage and making consumers accountable for the usage and wastage will usher India to a new dawn of electricity.

Smart meters, electricity usage tracking, reducing wastage and cutting down on the transmission and distribution losses are the need of the hour.


What IPDS brings?

by Team Digireach

It is a flagship programmes aimed at increasing energy access among the poor. The IPDS is aimed at enhancing the power infrastructure in urban areas

Agenda of IPDS are as follows:

  • Reduction in AT&C losses
  • Establishment of IT enabled energy accounting/ auditing system
  • Metered consumption
  • Improvement in collection efficiency

Energy losses occur in the process of supplying electricity to consumers due to technical and commercial reasons.  The technical losses are due to energy dissipated in the conductors , transformers and other equipments used for transmission, transformation, sub-transmission and distribution of power.  These technical losses are inherent in a system and can be reduced to a certain level.

Pilferage by hooking, bypassing meters, defective meters, errors in meter reading and in estimating un-metered supply of energy are the main sources of the commercial losses owhen Commercial losses are added to Technical losses, it gives Transmission & Distribution (T&D) loss.

There is another component of commercial losses, which is attributable to non-recovery of the billed amount, which is reflected in collection efficiency. T&D losses together with loss in collection give us Aggregate Technical & Commercial (AT&C) losses.

Transmission & Distribution losses (T&D losses)

T& D Losses = { 1- (Total energy Billed/ Total energy Input in the system)} x 100

Aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C losses)

AT&C Losses = { 1- (Billing Efficiency x Collection Efficiency) } x 100 Where Billing efficiency= Total unit Billed/ Total unit Inputs Collection efficiency = Revenue collected / Amount Billed

Energy accounting is a system used in energy management systems to measure and analyze energy consumption to improve energy efficiency within an organization. Dashboards and sensor infrastructure can be arranged to collect and monitor data pertaining to energy parameters on a real-time basis. These systems can be used to track energy usage.

IPDS scheme, apart from ensuring 24×7 power supply in urban area, will also help in improvement in billing and collection efficiency which will ultimately result in reduction in Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C or distribution) losses.

These are some of the advantages India can assume on successful implementation of IPDS technology.


Energy industry – Smarter, Efficient, Distributed.

by Team Digireach

Optimizing maintenance schedules can significantly improve reliability. Preventative measures taken to improve reliability by keeping equipment in optimal condition and detecting problems so that necessary repairs can be done before it fails.

The energy sector is undergoing a massive transformation. IoT sensors measure parameters such as vibration, temperature and wear to optimize maintenance schedules.  Data and other energy parameters are tracked via energy meters. In addition to providing more information to utilities, IoT technology can help customers to be more informed about their energy usage. Internet-connected smart meters collect usage data and send it to both utilities and customers remotely.

The data collected can be used to generate reports. Based on these reports, action can be taken by the utility companies or the customers at a personal level. The reports and graphs can enable the authorities to take action and optimize the energy consumption by identifying leakages and optimizing generation, transmission and distribution.

IoT technology has improved to a great extent in the electrical utility sector. The data collection points, memory space, data processing at the edge-level or the cloud-level can be chosen appropriately so that optimized data collection and preventative action can be taken.

IoT technology can enable the integration of more distributed resources into the grid, but it can also improve grid management in other ways as well. Placing sensors at substations and along distribution lines provides real-time power consumption data that energy companies can use to make decisions about voltage control, load switching, network configuration and more. Some of these decisions can be automated.

Sensors located on the grid can alert operators to outages, allowing them to turn off power to damaged lines to prevent electrocution, wildfires and other hazards. Manual activity of isolating problem areas takes up a lot of time and leads to unwanted losses.  Smart switches can isolate problem areas automatically and reroute power to get the lights back on sooner.

Load forecasting is another aspect of smart power of the future. Power usage data is already collected using an assembly of IoT gateway, cloud, processing power and memory. There are pockets of high power generation and high power consumption both region-wise and time-wise. Load forecasting can help in managing congestion along transmission and distribution lines and help ensure that all of the connected generation plants meet requirements related to frequency and voltage control. This power consumption data can also help companies decide where to build new infrastructure and make infrastructure upgrades. More informed decision and investments in the power sector can go a long way in providing reliable power capacity for each location.

The IoT is transforming nearly every sector of our economy, including the one that powers — the energy sector. Over the coming years, the energy industry is going to get smarter, more efficient, more distributed and more reliable, thanks in part to the IoT.


Distribution Transformer Monitoring

by Team Digireach

Electricity plays a very important role in our daily life. We depend on it for light to see, energy to cook, water to drink and so much more. There are many components and equipments involved in regulating distribution of electricity according to usage. The most critical of these is the transformer. Distribution Transformers (DTs) play a crucial role and act as hub in electrical distribution network, and its correct function is essential for reliable power supply to consumers. Catastrophic failure of a critical transformer would result in power outages in the downstream network and could cause significant economic and environmental challenges.

Let us review some of the factors by which Distribution Transformers’ life cycle can get adversely affected-

  1. Unplanned expansion of networks which causes overloading, resulting in additional losses and generates waste heat.
  2. Incompatible devices being run on transformers, such as a 3 phase device being connected to a single phase transformer.
  3. Stealing of power by hooking from the main supply, unbalancing the transformer or overloading it.
  4. Oil drainage, poor power factor, etc. also cause the transformer to age rapidly.

In India, there is an increase of approximately 14% in the amount of DTs in the network. However, these transformers rarely have intelligence or communication capabilities. Lack of information on the loading of the transformer is one of the main reasons for inefficient distribution network. Transformers are to be monitored very cautiously on a regular basis to avoid unexpected interruption and to anticipate upcoming problem. This has led to the advent of smart grids in India.

Smart grids enable the company to monitor the Distribution Transformer’s working, provide the facility to measure critical parameter and transmit the information to remote data center for analysis and visualization which help system operators to monitor and control the system.

Today, most utilities focus on Smart Grid technology and other aspects that are crucial for the success of their Smart Grid vision. This Internet of Things (IOT) powered Smart Grid technology will help the utilities industry to optimally utilize transformers and identify problems before any catastrophic failure occurs. This online-measuring system is used to collect and analyze temperature data over time. Thus Transformer Monitoring will help to identify or recognize unexpected situations before any serious failure which leads to a greater reliability and significant cost savings.


Automatic Power Factor Controller

by Team Digireach

Efficient generation of power at present is crucial, as in the present technological revolution, power is very precious and its wastage is a global concern. We need to find out the causes of power loss and remediate them to improve the power system. This is where the power factor comes into play. Power factor measures a system’s power efficiency and is an important aspect in improving the quality of supply. It is defined as the ratio between the KW (actual load power) and the KVA (apparent load power) drawn by an electrical load. It is simply a measure of how efficiently the load current is being converted into useful work output.

The actual amount of the power being used, or dissipated, in a circuit is called active power (P), and it is measured in watts. Active power is the product of the sinusoidal voltage and current wave form. Reactive power is the power consumed in the ac circuit because of the inductive and capacitive field. The unit used for measuring reactive power is KVAR. Apparent power is the combination of the active power and reactive power.

Hence, the lower the power factor is, the lower is the economic efficiency of the system. A low power factor can be the result of fluctuating current waveforms i.e. unstable input, or a significant phase difference between voltage and current at load terminals. Usually the presence of inductive loads reduces power factor by causing the current to lag behind the voltage and this can be corrected by power factor correction methods.

Power factor correction (PFC) is the process of compensating a lagging current by a leading current, through connecting capacitance to the supply. The capacitor draws current which leads the voltage, thereby offsetting the lag caused by the inductive elements. This Automatic Power Factor Controller (APFC) is designed such that they utilize the scope of the Internet of Things (IoT) to the fullest, to closely monitor the working of the system and make necessary changes to the capacitive components to ensure the power factor is made as close to unity as practically possible without causing unintended side-effects.

APFC devices find application in industries, power distribution system and commercial power lines to increase stability and efficiency of the system. They help in reducing charges on utility bills by pulling in high current drawn from the system. Lesser power consumed means lower greenhouse gas emissions and lesser fossil fuel consumption by the power stations, thereby benefitting the environment.


Solar Power Monitoring

by Team Digireach

The biggest achievement, and also one of the best features of IoT (Internet of Things) is the ability to monitor devices remotely and take necessary action as needed. This monitoring feature has widespread applications, not the least of which being more efficient generation of energy from inexhaustible sources. And what better energy source than the Sun itself.

At present, the solar photovoltaic (PV) energy is one of the pivotal renewable energy sources. Solar energy is becoming a potential solution towards sustainable energy supply in future. As more and more Rooftop Solar PV Systems are getting integrated in the existing grids, there is even more need to monitor real time data from solar PV plants to optimize the overall performance.

Solar power plants require continuous maintenance and are hence limited in scale. However with IoT technology, we can remotely monitor the functioning of the solar power plant.

A monitoring system is an essential part of a PV plant. It allows the yield to be monitored and compared with theoretical calculations, and raise warnings in case of performance shortfall. This helps to rectify and detect faults before any appreciable production loss occurs. This same fault could take months before it is noticed and rectified in absence of a proper monitoring system, which would lead to unnecessary revenue loss.

In general, monitoring systems have to fetch, analyze, transmit, manage and feedback the remote information, by making the best use of the most advanced communication technology available. It also merges comprehensive use of instrumentation, electronic technology and computer software and has a huge potential in the upcoming years.


Open Access – A market to choose power

by Team Digireach

As per Electricity Act 2003 Open Access is

“Non-discriminatory provision for the use of transmission lines or distribution system or associated facilities with such lines or system by any licensee or consumer or a person engaged in generation in accordance with the regulations specified by the Appropriate Commission”.

The power market may be defined as a system for effecting purchases and sales through available options based on demand-supply dynamics. The Indian power market initially had only limited players. It has now opened to a lot of private players. This has made it a dynamic and vibrant market with a large number of players and rapidly rising volumes.

All 1 MW and above consumers are eligible for open access and it ends the regulators jurisdiction on fixation of energy charges—the power market is heading towards a major transformation.

Open access is one of the key measures to bring about competition in electricity, whereby large consumers have access to the transmission and distribution (T&D) network to obtain electricity from suppliers other than the local distribution company (DISCOM).

Through Open Access, electricity consumers have an option to procure power from alternate sources at competitive prices. Presently, consumers with contract demand of 1 MW and above are eligible for open access. As per the Act, a consumers’ bill will have three parts – wheeling charge, cross subsidy charge and energy purchase charge. While the first two shall remain fixed, consumer could base his decision of procurement as per variable energy purchase charges from suppliers.

The whole concept of Open Access is the consumer exercising choice. There would be multiple vendors of electricity in the market among which the consumers can choose their electricity provider.

On the basis of location of buying and selling entity, the open access is categorized as:

  1. Inter State Open Access:When buying and selling entity belongs to different states. In this case CERC regulations are followed. It is further categorized as:
    1. Short Term Open Access (STOA): open access allowed for the period of less than one month.
    2. Medium Term Open Access (MTOA): open access allowed for a period of 3 months to 3 years.
    3. Long Term Open Access (LTOA): open access allowed for a period of 12 years to 25 years.



IPDS for sub transmission & distribution network

by Team Digireach

India is a developing country. Power is the mainstay for any growing country. In order to leapfrog into the future, efficient utilization of power generation is of prime importance.

Electricity is the most important factor in the economic growth of any country. And the most critical segment of Power Sector chain including Generation, Transmission and Distribution, is the Distribution Sector. Efficient management of the distribution of electricity sector is mandatory as it acts as an interface between the utilities and the consumers. The real challenge in the power sector today lies in efficiency. However, the poor financial health of the distribution utilities in the States has resulted in inadequate investment in the distribution network making it difficult to meet the increasing demands of power in urban areas.

The goal of IPDS (Integrated Power Development Scheme)  are as follows:

  1. Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network in the urban areas;
    Metering of distribution transformers /feeders / consumers in the urban areas.
    3. IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network

The problems the government tries to address by implementing this scheme are as follows:

AT&C losses [The concept of Aggregate Technical & Commercial losses provides a realistic picture of loss situation in the context it is measured. It is combination of energy loss (Technical loss + Theft + inefficiency in billing) & commercial loss (Default in payment + inefficiency in collection).]

  • Establishment of IT enabled energy accounting / auditing system,
  • Improvement in billed energy based on metered consumption
  • Improvement in collection efficiency.

This is a part of the Indian government scheme of Restructured Accelerated Power Development and completion of the Reforms Programme (RAPDRP). It is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Power.

IPDS is important for a brighter future which will help enhance the economic growth of India. Electricity is vital for the overall development of the nation, and the Union Government by launching this scheme is all set to push India in the right direction of development.

Status as per No. 8/2/201 8-IPDS(Pt.) Government of lndia Ministry of Power

Projects worth Rs.30,005 Crore (Distribution Strenglhening work: Rs 2.7,626 Crore in 546 circles, IT enablement: Rs 985 crore in 1931 towns, ERP Rs 640 crore and Smart Meting: Rs 754 crore) have been sanctioned.

Better electricity leads to a better tomorrow. We, at Digital Reach are equipped with the hardware, software, system integration capabilities and domain knowledge to make this a reality.


Automatic Under-Frequency Load Shedding

by Team Digireach

The maintenance of maximum service reliability has always been the primary concern of the electric utility industry. To ensure this, power systems are always designed and operated such that working is not affected in any system conditions and load requirements are always met. Usually the designing is such that it can hold up service continuity even under emergency situations, but sometimes, unpredictable conditions of faults, forced outages, etc. may occur. When this happens, it is important to ensure that steps are taken to ensure that a major system outage doesn’t occur.

Any part of a power system will begin to deteriorate if there is an excess of load over available generation. If there is an excess of load over generation ratio, the frequency decreases. It is generally recognised that a sudden drop in generating capacity results in a drop in frequency. This drop is not immediate, but rather, happens gradually.

One way to attain the balance between generation and load, before the decaying frequency affects performance, is to increase generation. However this isn’t always possible practically due to system limitations or due to time constraints. So, a more common method is to employ Automatic Under-Frequency Load Shedding (AUFLS). What this does is that it employs a quick and effective means of attaining a balance of generation and load. The application of AUFLS relays throughout the load area, preset to drop increments of load at specific values of low frequency, provides a simple and direct method of minimizing service interruption and alleviating system overloads.

The Load Shedding function provides under-frequency protection at the main distribution substation. As system frequency decreases, load is disconnected in discrete steps according to frequency thresholds. Protective relays are used for automatic gradually under-frequency load shedding. Under and over-frequency relays are specified by frequency settings and delays. And all this can be incorporated by using IoT Gateway which requires minimum system integration and is fully compatible with most of the applications.


IoT in Utilities

by Team Digireach


IoT is considered as the next industrial revolution, Industry 4.0. The concept of IoT is to develop advanced solutions and services, enhance productivity & efficiency, solve critical problems, and improve real-time decisions. IoT is changing industry business models, and the utility industry is investing in IoT technology to transform its operations and enhance customer experience. IoT connected utilities can monitor and regulate operations in real-time to maximize efficiency and perform preventive maintenance. Moreover, IoT accelerates digital transformation in utilities.

Implementation of IoT can drastically change the direction the utility industry is headed towards. Many utility companies are on the verge if adopting IoT. Simply the investment in smart grid, smart meters, and home automation can allow utility companies to comprehensively recapture the energy industry and drive top-line growth.

When the utility industry adopts IoT, it connects with the consumer, with the grid, with the world, on a whole new scale. There’s a huge influx of data that can be harnessed to improve services. Companies can utilize smart meters and grids to optimize how the power is distributed. These systems enable greater forecasting capabilities, thereby driving down costs of generation through more efficient scheduling and reliability in the grid, as well as enabling customers to foresee spending patterns and better plan their energy usage over time.

A few applications and benefits of IoT in utilities:

  1. Smart meters are IoT-connected sensors on consumer utility lines. These report data back directly to the company, enabling real-time monitoring and analyzing of data. This can also alert company of maintenance issues and help resolve issues quicker.
  2. Condition-based maintenance routines can be improved by utilities using sensors which measure performance. Data is collected via communication networks to pinpoint problems and predict possible issues using analytics.
  3. Smart buildingscan control light and temperature in real time for maximum comfort and efficiency using interconnected sensors and building control systems.
  4. Precise water irrigation systemswith IoT sensors, including trickle and subsurface methods, greatly reduce water consumption and have the ability to integrate with utility demand response systems.