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Expenditure on upgrade of urban power distribution set to see quantum jump

Money spent on the integrated power development scheme (IPDS) — for upgrading urban power distribution — is set to see a quantum jump with a slew of states looking to modernise their creaking power infrastructure.

By: | New Delhi | Published: September 16, 2016 6:37 AM
In the last two years, states have been sanctioned nearly R16,000 crore under IPDS. This is nearly 42% of the amount sanctioned in the seven years between 2008 and 2014 under IPDS’ predecessor scheme or R-APDRP. (Reuters) In the last two years, states have been sanctioned nearly R16,000 crore under IPDS. This is nearly 42% of the amount sanctioned in the seven years between 2008 and 2014 under IPDS’ predecessor scheme or R-APDRP. (Reuters)

Money spent on the integrated power development scheme (IPDS) — for upgrading urban power distribution — is set to see a quantum jump with a slew of states looking to modernise their creaking power infrastructure.

In the last two years, states have been sanctioned nearly R16,000 crore under IPDS. This is nearly 42% of the amount sanctioned in the seven years between 2008 and 2014 under IPDS’ predecessor scheme or R-APDRP.

Since November 2014, an amount of R16,000 crore has been sanctioned which is about a fifth of total scheme outlay of nearly R77,000 crore. The government will provide budgetary support to the tune of R47,000 crore till 2022. A status check reveals Bihar, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are among the states that have received the biggest grants so far.

For instance, Bihar recently inaugurated an advanced distribution management system (ADMS), installing technology which essentially comprises an outer layer of information technology (IT) over the existing physical infrastructure. The system brings together 53 substations and about 1,000 feeders in the capital city of Patna onto one platform. The IT-enablement of the distribution system is an integral part in monitoring and reducing pilferage.

The ADMS and similar systems provide the state with a bird’s eye view of the network. This helps them to identify individual loss-making feeders and bring transparency in plugging the loopholes. Similarly, any network fault that stops power supply for various reasons can be easily pin-pointed enabling the discom to reduce time substantially.

Bihar recovers the cost for only 60% of the energy its supplies. Several states, including Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir, face similar problems with aggregate technical and commercial losses of 40% and above.

“With this system, technicians sitting in the control room can monitor the entire network, its working and its fault,” Prakash Chandrakar, vice-president of Schneider Electric’s infra business said. He added that the system would lead to increased efficiency and reliability.

Additionally, Odisha has taken steps to install several e-house substations across the state, including in Puri.

Kerala has also shown interest in superior technology, manufacturers of these products told FE. The state has received approvals for a grant of R652 crore to beef up its power infrastructure.

“Odisha Power Transmission Company (OPTC) is in the process of installing massive upgrade of its transmission and distribution network and has since been partnering with leading technology service providers that offer solutions suited to our conditions,” Hemant Sharma, chairman and managing director at Gridco & OPTCL, said.

The distribution sub-stations are meant for receiving high-voltage current from the generating station and bringing down the voltage to level that can be consumed. The e-houses are the same substation but are far more compact and housed in a fabricated hut. The closed structure of the equipment makes it safer to be located in a densely populated area.

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Additionally, it also minimises the area of spread due to its structure. They can also be moved around as a whole unit and replaced with a more powerful substation if needed.

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