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New system to tackle blackouts

Almost all major towns and cities in the country would be connected through a complex power distribution management system to deal with blackouts and thefts. A report by Gaurav Choudhury & Samiran Saha.

business Updated: Sep 03, 2008 21:49 IST

Almost all major towns and cities in the country would be connected through a complex power distribution management system to deal with blackouts and thefts.

The government would shortly roll out an exercise to set up a supervisory control and data acquisition (Scada) system to manage energy generation and transmission systems.

Power Finance Corporation would be the nodal agency for the project covering all cities and towns that have a population of more than 4 lakhs, a government official said.

The project involves preparation of base-line data for consumer indexing, geographical information system (GIS) mapping, metering of transformers and feeders and asset mapping of the entire distribution network, including poles and other equipment. It will also include adoption of information technology applications for meter reading, billing and collection, energy accounting and auditing.

Such a system was necessary to develop applications and tools for preventing faults from developing into large-scale outages the one seen in the US in 2003, the official said.

The project is part of a technology initiative that would be launched to strengthen the power transmission and distribution system under a restructured accelerated power development and reforms programme.

The programme was launched in the beginning of 2002 under the supervision of the Central government. A new structure of the programme is now being developed that would incorporate disincentives if state governments do not follow certain reform benchmarks.

Central funds to state governments under the power reforms programme would critically depend on how soon these systems are put in place. It would be mandatory for state electricity boards to enter into agreements with the power ministry assuring that such systems would be set up within three years, the official said.

Analysts were bullish on the initiative. Information technology major HCL is undertaking a pilot project to in Delhi and Bangalore for efficient power supply management.

“Technology eliminates the last man in the queue through automatic meter reading, billing and collection,” said George Paul, executive vice president of HCL Infosytems. “Remote disconnecting for defaulters will also be possible through appropriate IT applications.”

Ratan Tata-headed Investment Commission has also recommended the use of technology to reduce theft. “Target 100 per cent digital metering to prevent tampering,” the commission said in its latest report to the government.