Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company Limited (APSPDCL) has implemented a slew of information technology (IT) initiatives to facilitate process automation and digitalisation of day-to-day functions like new service applications, payments, consumer complaints, and operations and maintenance.
Smart meter pilot project
The discom has also initiated a smart meter pilot project in Tirupati town and the contract for the installation of 580 meters has been awarded to Hyderabad’s ADYA Wifi Metering Private Limited.
The functions that are to be monitored through these meters are typical loading level of transformers, power availability, time-of-use/critical peak pricing, voltage profile of consumers, outage management system, demand-side management, power quality and reliability, energy accounting/audit demand response and load forecasting. Besides, these meters will help in market operations – complex billing, peak load management, distribution system planning, operations planning, billing and settlement, connection management, and improvement of financial performance, operational efficiency, reliability, safety and security.
Digital payment initiatives
APSPDCL has also implemented various types of digital payment initiatives. The utility has launched a mobile application for its customers, enabling them to make electricity bill payments and view consumption/payment history of the past 12 months, among others, online Customer care services like complaint registration/ tracking and low tension (LT) application status are also available. Moreover, customers can get access to the supply (section, substation, etc.), feeder and contact details of the nearest distribution officers (assistant engineer, assistant divisional engineer, etc.) through the app.
More recently, APSPDCL has launched the Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) app and the Bharat QR mode of digital payment to enable its consumers to make online payments through computers or smartphones. These modes of payments are secure and simple to use.
Central billing system
The central billing system is an in-house application developed for automating the billing and collection process, and includes activities such as preparation of spot billing and spot collection data. It also involves uploading of billing and collection data to the central server, and the generation of bill book abstracts and various reports. Billing for 11 million consumers is carried out through this application and all LT consumers are billed through spot billing machines. This application is integrated with all online revenue collection counters, common service centres, and the monitoring and tracking system (MATS).
DTR tracking system
APSPDCL has developed and implemented an IT-driven GPRS-based tracking module to ensure compliance with the standard of performance (SoP) norms in replacing failed distribution transformers (DTRs). The application tracks DTR failures and ensures replacement of failed DTR, adhering to the timelines of the SoP norms specified by the Andhra Pradesh Electricity Regulatory Commission. The application also captures photographs of the failed DTR, the replaced DTR and the vehicle transported along with the coordinates of the DTR structure, and sends these to the server through the GPRS system. This application is integrated with the centralised customer care system for providing information to the consumer.
E-office and E-stores
E-office was started by APSPDCL in April 2016 at its corporate office and has now been extended to its zonal and circle offices as well. All correspondence and circulation of documents amongst the offices are done through e-office wherein letters are signed using digital keys (digital signature certificate token). The e-stores module was also implemented in April 2016, with the aim to deliver the required material to various work locations to avoid wastage of time. A section officer creates the material requisition in SAP and the concerned stores need to deliver the material within the stipulated time at the section officer’s doorstep.
Systems, applications and products
The utility implemented SAP 4.7 version with a few modules in 2008. The SAP ECC 6.0 version was implemented on May 1, 2010. A trained core team currently looks after the day-to-day issues in SAP.
APSPDCL has demonstrated a strong operational performance and is offering enhanced customer services on the back of IT and OT initiatives. Going forward, the company’s focus on digitalisation is expected to help it meet its goal of providing reliable power and quality services to its customers.