Impact: Moving 15+ Million power consumers in India onto the cloud

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About UPPCL

Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (UPPCL) is the transmission and distribution utility in India’s largest state Uttar Pradesh through its five power distribution companies (Discoms), with more than 20 Million consumers having a connected load of 37,000 MW and energy sales of about 55,000 MU per year. The creation of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (UPPCL) on January 14, 2000 was the result of power sector reforms and restructuring in UP (India), which is the focal point of the Power sector, responsible for planning and managing the sector through its transmission, distribution, and supply of electricity. The Government of Uttar Pradesh has formed MVVNL at Lucknow, PuVVNL at Varanasi, PVVNL at Meerut, DVVNL at Agra and KESCO at Kanpur as wholly-owned undertakings of the Government of Uttar Pradesh under the Companies Act, 1956 to undertake distribution and retail supply of power.

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UP Discoms deliver highly reliable, good quality services with a focus on consumer satisfaction. These companies contribute to the sustainable economic development of the country while staying commercially viable.

Problem Statement

  • Low revenue-realization due to incorrect billing and lack of collections
  • The absence of a centralized billing system
  • High capex involved in establishing DC/DR etc
  • Increasing consumer complaints regarding thefts and pilferage
  • A large number of unmetered consumer
  • Delay in meter readings and delivery of bills
  • High AT&C losses due to low billing and collection inefficiency

Objective

Create a sustainable impact by increasing Discoms’ revenue. Hence, some of the priority areas are increasing billing efficiency and enhancing customer satisfaction. The project also focusses on reducing daily operational challenges in rural areas for consumers not covered under the Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP) by implementing a centralized billing and metering system in a cloud environment.

Benefits of implementing the solution:

  • Increased billing and collection efficiency in rural areas
  • Reduced AT&C losses owing to better grip on commercial losses
  • Fast implementation, leading to quick results and benefits
  • No capex, leading to a reduced burden on utility
  • Centralization of data and implementation of a common billing system, leading to higher accuracy and efficiency
  • More power to consumers by enabling self-service capabilities through web portals and mobile applications
  • Better connectivity and communication between utility and consumers through SMS notifications
  • More reliable and secured network owing to a cloud-based infrastructure
  • Mobile spot billing app integrated with Revenue Protection System (RPS) and Mobile Workforce Management System (MWM) to improve metering and billing efficiency and arrest revenue leakage
  • Easy and quick bill-generation through spot-billing
  • Efficient revenue collection through a self-service mobile application, which includes both trust meter reading and billing
  • Faster resolution of consumer complaints through a web-based customer portal and centralized helpdesk

Time taken for implementation of the solution: Six to nine months

Solution proposed by Fluentgrid:

Establishment of a centralized web-based billing solution deployed on the cloud, along with the following solutions:

  • New service connection
  • Disconnection
  • Metering
  • Billing
  • Collection
  • Energy audit
  • Web self-service portal
  • Mobile apps for self-service and mobile billing
  • Business intelligence and reporting (MIS)

Analysis of consumer-wise billing information to identify sub-division-wise high, medium and low consumption consumers
Central monitoring in the form of dashboards through Utility Command Centre (UCC)

Other details:

  • Considering the ease of any cloud deployment, the solution can be implemented without hassle in any utility
  • Over 200 resources deployed (Both onsite and offshore) for successful and time–bound implementation of the project
  • 100% opex with 0% capex from utilities, reducing their financial burden
  • UPPCL won Cloud Migration of the Year Award (2018) – Data Centre Dynamics
  • Fluentgrid CIS was piloted in two weeks flat as a proof-of-concept, before receiving a go-ahead for rolling it out to approx. 15+ Million consumers
  • This among the largest cloud-hosted utility CIS/CRM deployments in the world on a Per-Consumer-Per-Month (PCPM) model.

The cloud hosted billing and customer care solution for UP DISCOMs, implemented by Fluentgrid using its own CIS product suite, has now become a case study under the UDAY Scheme of Government of India. The case study published on the UDAY website (Read it here: https://www.uday.gov.in/cs/c1 ) details about how the cloud solution helped achieve 5.89% reduction in AT&C losses due to increased billing and collection efficiency.

Impact: The First Indian Municipality with 100% Smart Metering Runs on Fluentgrid AMI Solutions

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New Delhi Municipal Council

New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) is regarded as the seat of central authority of India, comprising some of our country’s most iconic government buildings such as Rashtrapati Bhawan, Parliament House, and Supreme Court. Efficient and effective functioning of municipal services in this area is critical for the internal image of the country.
NDMC (1)

NDMC has been serving its esteemed consumers with utilities such as power, water etc. As part of its futuristic efforts to improve services for its consumers, NDMC pioneered in smart metering implementation in the country, under prestigious schemes of the Ministry of Power. This makes NDMC the first in India to implement 100% smart metering

Smart Metering

Smart meters are part of the overall Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) that measures and records consumers’ electricity usage at different times of the day and sends this information to the energy supplier through over-the-air communication technologies (e.g. GPRS and RF). This gives consumers better access to information and enables them to make more informed decisions on the use of electricity in their homes, leading to reduced power wastage, and providing long-term carbon and financial savings.

NDMC Smart Metering

India is striving to become a low-carbon-footprint economy and an energy-secure nation. Every utility in the country is implementing schemes of the Ministry of Power, Government of India to ensure that the above-mentioned objectives are realized at the earliest. Apart from the macro level objectives, each utility is also working on business objectives aligned with improving customer experience and ramping up revenue through implementation of IT transformation projects.

Objectives

  • Efficient management of electricity by eradicating billing inefficiencies, cutting cost of manual reading
  • Empowering consumers with more information on energy habits, consumption pattern
  • Reduction in AT&C losses
  • Investment of saved funds (Through smart metering initiative benefits) into value-added services for consumers

Implementing smart meters is one of the operational performance parameters under the Government of India’s Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), which would help in reducing AT&C losses. It will also help in monitoring round-the-clock power supply, eventually leading to realization of the Government of India’s vision of 24X7 power for all.

NDMC, through its agreement with EESL procured Fluentgrid’s AMI products – Fluentgrid™ Unified Head End System (UHES) and Fluentgrid™ Meter Data Management System (MDMS), other consumer-facing solutions – Consumer portal, and mobile app for its consumers along with Fluentgrid™ Insight for analytics under the smart metering project.

The AMI solutions were deployed in a short span of three months, handling more than 50,000 consumers currently, and the project was officially launched on January 9, 2019 by the Hon’ble Energy Minister of India Shri. R.K. Singh.

The Benefits

  • Complete clarity to consumers about their energy consumption through detailed and personalized insights
  • Information at the fingertips of consumers through NDMC 311 mobile app and portal
  • Enhanced consumer satisfaction due to better grievance handling – faster restoration of outages, awareness of optimized consumption pattern
  • An estimated annual savings of *12.47 Crores for NDMC along with carbon savings
  • Reduced power wastage with better control in the hands of consumers
  • Improvement in overall system stability, reliability and transparency. Better reliability through automation of the manual business operational activities such as metering and billing.

*Source – http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=187376

Impact: Smart Visakhapatnam City Operations Center

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Background

Visakhapatnam (also commonly known as Vizag) is a port city in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is the largest city in the state and its IT capital, with a population of 2 million. Visakhapatnam was ranked eighth among the first 20 cities to be selected as part of the Indian Government’s Smart Cities Mission. Its smart city program is being driven by Greater Visakhapatnam Smart City Corporation Limited (GVSCCL), the special purpose vehicle (SPV) created by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC).

The program includes a wide range of proposals to improve the city’s sanitation, livability, safety and security, transportation and mobility, water supply, reliability of power supply, and lighting infrastructure as well as improving government services and local amenities. GVSCCL estimates that around $220 million will be required over 5 years to meet its plans for infrastructure and service improvement split between grants from the Smart Cities Mission, matching funds from the city, and other investments.

Solution Delivered

As part of the smart city program, the GVSCCL has deployed a City Operations Center that provides integrated management for a range of city services. The Operations Center is based on an Integrated Command Control and Communication (ICCC) solution provided by Fluentgrid by deploying its Actilligence® urban platform.

The city’s goals for the operations center include increased sanitation and health, public safety, traffic accident reduction, improved administrative efficiency especially about revenue collections, and e-government services, and better preparation for disaster management. The plan is for the operations center to integrate with a wide range of city systems include city surveillance, traffic monitoring, street lighting, waste monitoring, and utility systems, as well as core financial and management systems.

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Overall 23 city systems are integrated onto the platform. An executive dashboard provides an integrated view across department-level systems and overall performance. Data is also collated across systems for analysis to understand activity patterns and abnormal events, provide timely alerts on actionable events and convert them into incidents mapped with configurable Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Vizag operations center data is also integrated into Andhra Pradesh state-wide real time governance system (larger state-wide version of command center).

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As a further extension of its smart city ambitions, GVSCCL has installed smart poles in 50 strategic locations across the city. The smart poles support several functions including provision of Wi-fi hotspots, weather monitoring, air quality monitoring, CCTV, panic button and public messaging. The smart poles are integrated into the City Operations Center. Overall, 15 smart elements are integrated with the City Operations Center. Other potential applications include acting as small cell locations for extending cellular coverage in the city.

Benefits

Some of the benefits realized so far include

  • City wide revenue collection numbers have greatly increased, with overall efficiency increased by 43%
  • Citizen grievances response and closure rate has almost touched 99%, with dramatic improvement in SLA adherence (Increased from 5% to 27%)
  • Effectively used the City Operations Center to bring the spread of Dengue under control within the city, and swiftly mobilize various departments to treat the identified cases with utmost attention and care

Outlook

While Vizag City Operations Center was inaugurated by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Sri. N. Chandra Babu Naidu in the month of Feb 2018, the journey so far has been very impactful, and on a path to successfully realizing the overall envisioned benefits.
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In his own terms GVMC Commissioner M Hari Narayanan said, ‘a city cannot be smart without the basic stuff such as sanitation, livability, public safety, transportation and good governance’. He envisions the City Operations Center eventually become a platform for good governance while addressing the ever-changing aspirations of citizens and minimizing the problems faced by city administration, in the process it empowers citizens to move forward, ecosystem and industry to flourish.

Impact: Transforming lives in Afghanistan

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Background

Da Afghanistan Breshna Sherkat (DABS), the Afghan utility company relies on imports from neighbouring countries to meet 3/4th of its electricity needs and yet lights up only about a quarter of nation’s households. DABS has 2 about million consumers in the country.

The capital city Kabul with 2 million population now receives power 24 hours a day. USAID’s commercialization program has helped put DABS on a self-sustaining path aided by our mPower software implementations and consulting assignments.

Business Issues

  • Legacy billing system implemented in isolation without established commercial business processes
  • Very high distribution losses arising from unaccounted/ unmetered consumers, rampant power theft and poor collection efficiency
  • Non-existence of customer care processes.
  • Very low computerization and computer literacy.
  • Near absence of asset and maintenance management processes and best practices

Solution Delivered

Commercial business processes were drafted and implemented with baseline data. Legacy billing system was replaced with Fluentgrid CIS based billing system followed by automation of other commercial processes like new service release, disconnection/reconnection, revenue accounting, customer care, call center and self-service. All banks and public kiosks have been integrated to accept bill payments and mHawala mobile payments system was rolled out in association with Etisalat.

A business intelligence system was deployed in a centralized data center with ad-hoc reporting capability and visibility through executive dashboards. O&M capacity building was followed by CMMS implementation. Corporate management support program was followed by ERP implementation.

Benefits

  • System losses dropped from 70% in 2002 to 30% in 2014. Revenues increased by 15% every quarter since 2009.
  • Collection rates increased from less than 50% in 2002 to more than 90% in 2014
  • Better customer service through single window customer service centers and centralized call center
  • Corporatization and capacity building across all departments with improved computer literacy

Summary

DABS collected $220 million from the sale of electricity in 2012, an increase of 67 percent from 2010. During USAID’s commercialization project in Kabul from 2009 to 2012, DABS increased cash collections [for electricity bills] by 60 percent, decreased commercial losses from 50 to 38 percent, and increased cost recovery by 20 percent. Mobile payments system mHawala with Etisalat went live in 2013 with 100,000 registered consumers.

The commercialization program is now extended to five more provinces and plans are afoot to eventually roll out across the country in phases.

Sources:

https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/linked-documents/47282-001-dc.pdf

https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/frontlines/energy-infrastructure/powering-afghanistan

Impact: Lodha Palava Smart Prepaid Metering Solution

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Background

Lodha Group envisioned its Palava City, near Mumbai, to be the largest ever private green field smart city in urban India, and one of the top 50 places to live in the world by 2020. The 18 Sq. Km. mixed use integrated city project, when completed,  is expected to house about 125,000 residences apart from office and commercial space.

Photo Courtesy: www.palava.in

Photo Courtesy: www.palava.in

Business Issues

Palava City has entered into a distribution franchisee agreement with the local utility MSEDCL to secure near uninterrupted and stable power supply in the long term. The franchisee will manage collection of electricity charges and maintenance of electrical infrastructure in Palava. In this regard, Palava City intends to:

  • Reduce the operational hassles of meter reading and posting to MSEDCL
  • Eliminate the risk of energy bill collection on behalf of local utility MSEDCL
  • Maximize convenience to Palava City residents
  • Help residents in efficient energy usage

Solution Delivered

A new concept in prepaid metering system termed as “Smart Prepaid Metering” was developed and provided to fulfill the business requirements of Lodha’s Palava City. Smart Prepaid system allows its consumers to opt-in/out for prepaid billing as and when required without changing the metering infrastructure.

Our solution offering includes smart grid elements such as smart meters, head-end system, central data server with MDMS and UHES, consumer portal and integration with other applications at Palava City including command centre, resident portal and the back office system.

Benefits

  • Unique solution in the industry enabling consumer to switch between prepaid and post-paid billing without changing metering infrastructure
  • Ensure accurate meter readings scheduled and on-demand
  • Better cash flow to utilities with payments collected in advance
  • Help consumers avoid wastage and reduce energy usage
  • Availability of smart meter data for Lodha /MSEDCL to monitor consumption patterns and respond to outages far more quickly