Smart Distribution: Solution for affordable, reliable and quality power

The growth of a Country depends upon the certain basic pillar of infrastructure and one of such basic infrastructure is availability of quality and reliable power in the country. The country needs 24×7 uninterrupted power supply to all the consumers along with transparency in the operation of sector and consumer participation. Distribution utilities facing various challenges dealing with retail consumers with varied expectation and at the same time different paying capacity. It involves huge network and requires network management of vast area. Theft, pilferages, and network losses are also maximum in this segment.

The power sector looks at IoT solutions – an internet based tool that will help in monitoring and predictive maintenance of a wide variety of assets in its value chain. The equipments are monitored continuously and the collected data is passed on to cloud. On the basis of the collected data, a conclusion can be drawn on the health and impending failure of the assets by using Artificial Intelligence, and determine the optimal time to perform maintenance. The proactive predictive nature will enable the utilities to schedule the maintenance in advance and also avoid major shut downs and down time. That also means considerable savings in time and cost.

Distribution automation involves the integration of operations-related activities like system protection, control and data acquisition into a unified control system. The objective of IT application in distribution network is to reduce overall costs and eliminate redundant equipment and database by minimising human intervention. A unified control system in an automated system includes control of substation systems from one place, comprehensive protection management, compact system designs, decentralized system structure, no conventional mimic board, numerical protection and control, self interlocking and supervision, modern man-machine interface, operator guidance and maintenance support. Distribution automation also refers to using data from intelligent electronic devices control & automation capabilities within the distribution network and control commands from remote users to control power system devices.

Distribution is often seen as a social obligation of Government toward society rather than a commercial activity. Since the metering, billing, and collection at many places involves human intervention and most of the times human error, intentional or non-intentional can occur. There is lack of infrastructure for data base management system and at the same time absence of any data mining system. Lack of employee ownership and Internal Resistance to change also observed in distribution sector. Thus, there is a need of introduction of Information Technology (IT) and automation in operation of distribution utilities. Information Technology plays a major role in the success of effective decision making at the utility level. Some of the elements of IT facilitates to the business groups for efficient operations are data and application integration, business intelligence, Hardware capabilities to run complex algorithms and display mapping features and workflow coordination and reporting. The information system concept promises to increase operational efficiency, reduce cost and be more environment friendly.