IPCL aims to become smart utility and has become so to a large extent. It started with our customers where we switched from old analog meters to smart meters. To have better control over our network, we have implemented SCADA (Supervisory control and data acquisition) in our distribution business. To monitor its distribution transformers, IPCL installed smart meters and IOT devices which sends data to cloud so that engineers can see the parameters almost at real time. This has reduced outages significantly thus benefitting our customers. IPCL has implemented technical architecture to bring all disparate data to a single repository so that automated and intelligent reporting has become possible. This has made decision makers to see reports and quickly react. We even have automated reports sent to stakeholders every morning. The architecture also allows different smart meter clouds to send data to the single repository thus enriching reporting systems in the company. Similarly, many reporting systems have been revamped and automated. IPCL is climbing up the maturity ladder to handle its data more efficiently. Going forward, customers will get SMS of any outage and get their power usage patterns on their mobile phones. We at IPCL are digitally linking the entire network from feeder to customer.
IPCL has adopted Business Intelligent (BI) form of reporting system across all levels. For this, it has adopted Tableau, one of the best BI tool in the world in the Company. Further, it has automated all such BI reports at different times in the day to different stakeholders. Hence, the users no longer ask to reports to work on. They get it automatically and know where we stand every day. This has eliminated countless hours in preparing reports and benefitted the company operationally. To develop BI reporting, a technical architecture was implemented by IPCL making it among the first few in the country in power sector to do so.
Some of such reports being generated are Commercial and Technical Dashboards for Management & Business Users, Specific KPI Dashboard for Business Head to monitor day to day business activity, Inventory Dashboard for IPCL procurement team. Stock Consumption pattern monthly and weekly, Consumer Complaint Dashboard for Business Development team to monitor all types of complaints raised by consumers, Outage Management Dashboard for SBU’s Leads and other stakeholders, HT Interruption report to view interruption for Key Consumers (CD>500 KvA), DT Dashboard to view transformers peak load, Oil Temperature, Phase balance etc. Feeder Performance Report for Respective Feeder Managers, Customized Outage report for IPCL Regulatory team etc. This has even helped in timely report to West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission (WBERC).
IOT has been a proven technology in many sectors and power sector is no exception. Various parts of power sector like – Generation, Transmission, Distribution, Renewables etc. have all benefitted from adoption of IOT. Hence, IPCL has leveraged these benefits and adopted IOT in it distribution network. For us, measuring and monitoring the performance of assets such as Transformers are of utmost importance. Gathering some crucial information about transformers like load, temperature etc. on real time basis (or at least on a frequent basis) can make several decision making process faster and efficient.
Outages in our electrical grid is often a cause of customer dissatisfaction for our customers and are a source of revenue loss for the company. Hence, to reduce outages, it is necessary to reduce response time to the outages so that restoration is as fast as possible. Hence, to reduce these outages, Outage Management System (OMS) has been brought in with the objective of enhancing customer satisfaction and reduce revenue loss. There were many OMS products in the market but either they did not meet our requirement or required high capex. Hence, the digital team at IPCL designed a cost effective solution which is being implemented. With this, IPCL becomes the first Discom in India to design its own OMS from scratch. The solution captures data from IOT devices and smart meters installed in the network and uses them to make technical team monitor them. It also alerts them in cases of outages. The solution captures data on a real-time from the meter at each point, throughout the network and pulls in data to a central data repository, which is integrated with a real-time dashboard for operations/control room team, which shows the following real-time statistics from the Feeder to the Last Consumer in the chain, The Dashboard built on a GIS map and each asset tagged with Geographic Latitude and Longitude helps the Operations team with the following information such as Network asset identification and location on GIS Map, Identification of Impacted Consumers, Load analysis of each Distribution Transformer, Load flow analysis in real-time between source , Distribution and Consumption points, Immediate Identification of areas of concern ( deviation of defined threshold limits), Immediate identification of failure or faults, Notify or alert the Linesman / concerned team for fault and deviation, Keep the Field teams connected via Mobile Application using collaboration as video call & Messaging and finally Create a Knowledge repository of solution provided for future reference storing the case history.
IPCL has adopted SAP as its core ERP system for over a decade. We continued the SAP journey and further enhanced the consumer experience last year by introducing web portal and consumer mobile apps integrated with SAP. This allowed Consumers to get his/her meter data, commercial information etc. on their finger tips. Operational team at IPCL too benefitted since they too get real time information. SAP integrated online payment collections options were introduced which allowed real time sync on consumer ledger thus enhancing consumer experience.
For billing requirement, IPCL uses SAP IS-Utility software. This too was further strengthened using our maker checker process resulting in more robust roll matrix which help business to run error free environment and ensure compliance effectively.
Stock reservation process was introduced this year which help business to monitor each item of stock in more effective way. It helps business to control over stock utilization. Introduced E-procurement platform to make procurement process automation. Integrated with SAP to flow data from SAP to the procurement platform without human intervention to make procurement process faster in turn help business to reduce the procurement cycle. To make different business process faster and get decisions quickly introduced different automated reports from SAP. These reports are generated to the leadership team which help them to monitor business very effectively and provide their decision faster.
Digital Security is an important aspect at IPCL and several steps have been taken to ensure data security in IPCL network. All incoming and outgoing network traffic are monitored and controlled through a modern Firewall with defined web and application protection policies. Accesses to internet are restricted only for domain authenticated users which is SSO (Single-Sign-On) based. Users can access resources remotely only through VPN (Virtual Private Network) as per the requirement and duly authorized. All the Laptop/Desktop/Server have antivirus application protection system which prevent, detect and remove malware like viruses, worms, spyware etc. Every laptop/desktop critical data are put under automatic data back up system using google tool.
All the systems and applications have password policies enforced. Mail accesses in handheld device are allowed through device policy. Critical applications like SAP, Website & Customer Portal are hosted in data centres of AWS and TCL which have Multi-Tier Cloud Security. Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing (VAPT) is conducted once in a year by security experts and its findings are attended to, to mitigate any risk. Due to the steps taken above, we are pleased to note that in 2019-20, we did not have any security incident.
To sum it all, we are on our way to become a digital IPCL in line with Digital India plan of the country.