We intuitively understand that the adoption of technology will enable us to deliver better to our esteemed consumers, principals, partners and patrons.
And we recognize the enabling and the differentiating prowess of the adaptation of technology in todays business environment. This realization is all the more specific to our line of work where the territory is vast and the dependence on a large work force is obligatory. Probabilities of human errors and vested malpractices inherent to electricity distribution are considerable. The availability of just-in-time information is important for ensuring prompt action and effective decision making.
So what have we done.
We are amongst the very few electricity distributors world-wide to visualize, integrate, develop, implement and manage an enterprise wide Resource Management and a Customer Relationship Management software withing the very first year of its operations. Because of our vast operations there is always a chance of data being generated disjointedly and in silos across our various offices naturally leading to multiplicities, duplicities and cross purposes. A single source of truth with a unified database integrates meter reading; collections; arrears; customer service and grievances enmeshing seamlessly with our CRM software. Online Integrated Billing Software-ENSERV developed by FEDCO has been implemented across all our operational areas. The CRM Module is integrated with a front end software Connectix that monitors both customer service and agents.
For any organization in the electricity distribution space the key starting point is to know one’s assets (technical hardware used in distribution). The legacy data received at inception was at worse archaic and at best inadequate. The aim of any network survey is to capture all network components for optimised Capital Expenditure Planning, efficient Operation & Maintenance activities and optimal meter reading route sequence. For this purpose 3D mapping grade GPS instruments have been used. Our chosen technology ‘Tremble’ has enabled us to accurately collect position & attribute data and has enabled real time display for subsequent use and constant updating of this knowledge.
Spot Billing Machines for Single phase billing and collection: The biggest challenge facing FEDCO was optimising the revenue cycle management time to avoid any slippage in billing and collection. Along side, the other issues were monitoring the field activities both in terms of quantity, quality, timeliness, fudging/collusion and timely data transfer for taking action. To achieve this objective GPRS and Infrared enabled Spot Billing Machines (with Linux Operating System) have been deployed which apart from spot billing are also being used for collection and generate an Electronic Receipt. These SBMs are integrated with ENSERV for transmitting data to Server over the data network of telecom operators on live basis for monitoring purposes.
IR based Spot Billing: We are implementing the mandate of the Regulatory Commission that is of avoiding human intervention by integrating of IR enabled Single Phase Meters with GPRS and IR enabled SBMs. Here, the Meter Data is downloaded on to the spot-billing-machines through Infrared communication between the meter and the SBM; bills are generated without manual intervention; data is sent to the Central Server using GPRS connectivity and Electronic Payment Receipt are generated on the spot.
Consumer Meter Reading & Analysis: In any utility 3Phase and HT consumers use the maximum electricity and consequently contribute more to the overall revenue. It therefore becomes critical to thoroughly sanitize such meters for errors and constantly analyse meter data for consumption, tampering and load declaration etc. Further it is desirable that for such consumers manual interfacing is avoided during meter reading. This is done through using Common Meter Reading Instruments (CMRI). These enable direct download of data on to these machines for later analysis and action.
Automatic Meter Reading: In order to completely do away with human intervention and avoid consumer site visits and enable automated real-time data acquisition and analysis, we are in the process of piloting an Automatic Meter Reading Project which in a phased manner will be widely adopted in the organization to cover Feeder and High consumption level meters. AMRs enable remote meter data acquisition through our Meter Data Acquisition System (MDAS) and is integrated with the Meter Data Management (MMD) module of ‘aapt’.
Smart Meters not only enable remote meter data acquisition but also allow to discontinue and reconnect electricity supply without physically visiting a premise. This not only enables us to have control on defaulting parties but also allows consumers to remotely monitor misuse of electricity at their establishment. Advanced techno commercial discussions with our Principals CESU are on for piloting and implementing this project, the first of its kind in India.
Other Technology Interventions: Last but not the least FEDCO has deployed Software Solution for Network Modelling for Distribution Loss Analysis and Capital Expenditure estimation, and fingerprint based attendance system at the Corporate Offices and Field Offices.