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Mr. Lalit Jalan, Chairman, BSES

05 Nov 2018

- BSES Discoms are at the Forefront of Technological and Digital Innovation

Please tell us about BRPL and BYPL and their distribution networks in Delhi.
June 30, 2002, marked a water-shed in Delhi’s history. It was the day that saw a change of guard at the helm of the power distribution business in the National Capital. It marked curtains for the legacy of Delhi Vidyut Board (DVB) and its predecessor – the Delhi Electricity Supply Undertaking (DESU). The mantle is now donned by BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL), BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL). Between them, BSES discoms supply electricity to 2/3rd of the city across South, West, East and Central Delhi. Spread over a geographical area of around 950 sq. kms., BSES operates and manages one of the most advanced distribution networks in India to deliver reliable and quality electric supply to over 42 lakh customers. At the back of several technological deployments and continuous network augmentation, BSES discoms have brought about a record reduction in AT&C losses. Today, they are around 9% from a high of around 55% in 2002.
What were BSES’s key achievements over the past year?
BSES discoms have had several noteworthy achievements in the last one year. These transcended several areas including power supply, AT&C loss reduction, augmentation of the distribution, renewables, digitisation and consumer satisfaction.
Operations and Power Supply
During the FY 2017-2018, BSES invested heavily and deployed a capex of over Rs. 900 crore to further improve and augment the distribution network by adding new grid substations, power transformers, laying new feeders, shifting overhead lines underground and setting-up new distribution transformers among others. According to the Delhi Government data, at 0.06%, last year (FY 2017-2018), Delhi witnessed the lowest ever power load-shedding among other metro cities in the country. This load-shedding is almost six times lower than 0.40% witnessed in 2014-15. In fact, since 2014-15, the percentage of load-shedding has been continuously dropping. Another testament to the strength of BSES distribution network and reliable power supply was witnessed during the ban on diesel gensets between November 2017-March 2018. With no cushion of any back-up gensets (during the period of diesel genset ban by the SC monitored EPCA), BSES discoms had the sole responsibility to ensure uninterrupted power supply, at the right voltage and with no fluctuation to mega events like the 14-day IITF at Pragati Maidan and the India-New Zealand One-Day Cricket at Feroz Shah Kotla. On both these and scores of other occasions – both big and small - BSES discoms lived-up to the challenge and ensured uninterrupted and reliable power supply. There are many areas in Delhi where discoms are facing constraints in network augmentation. The primary reason being the lack of sufficient space for installing and laying new power infrastructure. To overcome this, BSES discoms are deploying innovative solutions like ‘Double Decker Sub Stations’ and ‘E (Electronic House)’ in congested areas to augment their distribution network. These two innovative solutions take 40-50% less space than conventional sub-stations, thus making them ideal for congested areas. BSES discoms continue to keep pace with Delhi’s exponentially rising power demand. On July 10, 2018, Delhi’s peak power demand touched 7016 MW– highest ever recorded in the history of the city. This is an increase of over 250% over the peak power demand of 2879 MW in 2002. In fact, the peak power demand in BRPL’s area of South and West Delhi and BYPL’s East and Central Delhi also clocked all time high records of 3081 MW and 1561 MW, respectively. The fact that the city’s power demand consistently crossed the 6500 MW (and crossing 7000 MW) shows the robustness of the capital’s distribution and transmission system, which has been able to measure up.
Promoting Ease of Doing Business/ Promoting Digital
BSES has taken to digital in a big way. Customers can connect with discoms and apply for a host of services, including applying for a new connection, registering complaints, from the comfort of their homes and offices using Mobile App, website and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The discoms have integrated many of these platforms with its existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools to greatly increase customers satisfaction levels. BSES has been tailoring its services in line with ‘Ease of doing business’. Today, it just takes seven days and 2 documents to get a BSES connection. A customer can apply, upload documents and even pay from the comfort of his/her home or office. The discoms are also rolling-out Digi Seva Kendras (DSK) - state-of-the-art centres modelled on the line of Passport Seva Kendras. These DSKs offer quick, convenient and hassle-free single window services to customers, who can apply for a host of services like new connection, load/name/ category change etc. BSES discoms have been at the forefront of promoting digital payments. As part of this resolve, during the year, the discoms partnered with several wallet companies to facilitate attractive cash-back schemes for their over 42 lakh consumers. Because of such efforts, today, over 85% of BSES’ collections are through cashless means. Customers can also make payment of their electricity bills through various convenient options like Debit Card, Credit Card, Net Banking, E-Wallets, UPI and QR Code. To encourage digital payments, BRPL regularly facilitates attractive wallet-based cash-back schemes for its customers.
Energy Conservation
Delhi has been at the forefront of promoting energy conservation. Recognising these efforts, the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) signed a grant of $ one million supporting BRPL to develop and deploy India’s first Behavioural Energy Efficiency (BEE) programme. Under the pioneering initiative, Oracle America Inc (Redwood Shores, CA) will carry out the pilot project covering 2 lakh customers. Based on results in comparable markets, the programme has the potential to save 1-2% in BRPL’s peak power demand. Apart from this, agreement was also signed with TERI for an innovative programme to sensitise 90,000 students from government schools on energy conservation and solar.
Deploying technology for benefitting consumers
Instances of impostors masquerading as discom officials have been troubling customers for years in spite of BSES’ regular campaigns to sensitise them about the menace. Today, BSES’ consumers in East and Central Delhi can check the identity of officials claiming to be from BSES on BSES’ Mobile App. This will be rolled-out in other areas soon.
What is the progress of smart metering programme under Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) in the state of Delhi in terms of monthly electricity consumption of 500 units and 200 units? What are some of the implementation challenges?
Firstly, UDAY scheme is not applicable to private discoms like BSES. Having said that, BSES has always been the front runners in adoption of state-of-the-art technologies to ensure world class power supply for its consumers. As part of this, BSES always understood the need of strong metering for smooth running of the power distribution operations. In fact, BSES was the first discom in India which started the concept of meter reading downloading. BSES has been conducting pilot trials of various smart meter technologies since the last few years and has obtained regulatory approvals for its larger-scale implementation. As a part of this initiative, BSES will set up a utility wide own communication network using smart meters to acquire data in real time. BSES has already started installing smart meters for specific applications. As per the present process, prepaid meters, street light meter cum controllers - all are smart meters. In addition, for E-Rickshaw charging stations and in much high-loss area, BSES is installing pole mounted smart meters. Further BSES believes that to have a smart grid, even critical asset like DT, RMU etc should also be smart. Trials are being done to have smart RMU and FRTU-based DT monitoring system. BSES will soon come out with smart metering tender.
Power thefts apart from aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses cause huge losses to discoms in the state. What is BSES’s strategy to deal with such issue?
At the back of several technological deployments and continuous network augmentation, BSES discoms have brought about a record reduction in AT&C losses. Today, they are around 9% from a high of around 55% in 2002. In South, West Delhi and parts of East Delhi, these losses have been brought below the 8% level. These are not only amongst the lowest in the country, but comparable to those in developed nations. Over the next couple of years, we will try to achieve 8%. However, in certain pockets of Outer West, East and Central Delhi, power theft continues to be a major challenge and because of this, the losses in these areas continue to be high. Moreover, power theft for e-rickshaw charging is the newest challenge confronting the discom. Moreover, BSES continues its crack-down on power theft, using analytics and with a humanitarian approach. During the year, along with Delhi Services Legal services Authority, it organised Lok Adalats for onthe-spot settlement of power-theft cases. Surpassing all expectations and breaking all previous records, the Lok Adalats, settled over 8,500 power theft cases with a value of around Rs. 80 crores. In fact, the last 19 Special Lok Adalats, including the ones held over in FY 2017-2018 have resolved (on the spot) around 30,500 cases with a value of around Rs. 230 crores.
What is your assessment of the impact of UDAY on discom finances and on BSES?
The UDAY scheme is not applicable for private discoms like BSES.
What is BSES’s current RE portfolio? How successful is BRPL’s Solar City Initiative? Is there any such initiative by its sister concern BYPL?
BSES is fully committed to the objectives of promoting renewables like solar (including rooftop solar), wind power and DSM (Demand Side Management). It is amongst the very few utilities in India, which is engaged in actively propagating the rooftop solar installations and facilitating customers through direct marketing efforts. It has also partnered with TERI, GIZ Indo-German Collaboration and EESL for conducting technical studies on renewal energy integration in the distribution network. After signing agreements to procure 400 MW of wind power, BSES has now inked agreements to procure 550 MW of solar power. Inked for a period of 25 years, the solar power is expected to be available to BSES discoms from October 2020 at a very competitive tariff of Rs 2.57 per unit (including SECI’s trading margin) determined through an e-auction. BSES has energised over 1,000, a record, rooftop solar connections – with a sanctioned solar load of over 40,000 KW (40 MW). Moreover, this blazing pace is likely to continue in BSES’ area and by the end of year, the total number in rooftop solar net metering connections is likely to cross 2,000 with a sanctioned solar load of around 80 MW. Taking its commitment to promote renewables to the next level, and in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) -PACE-D and Indo-German Collaboration (GIZ), BSES has launched a path-breaking ‘utility anchored rooftop program’ - Solar City Initiative - that aims to maximize the utilisation of solar rooftop potential in South and West Delhi. Unlike conventional methods, under this programme, rooftop solar installations will be provided at a single point for the entire apartment complex. Initiatives like these will help BSES discoms to realise the solar potential of around 700 MW in their licensed area.
Please throw some light on Delhi Solar Policy and the growth of solar rooftop sector in Dehli.
Delhi Solar Policy, notified on 27th September 2016 by the Govt. of NCT of Delhi for the period of 2016-21, promotes rooftop solar systems. It offers sustainable energy, environmental benefits, low-gestation period, low transmission and distribution losses, reduced need for distribution infrastructure, and peak load offset that reduces costs for the DISCOMs and ultimately for the consumers as well. This policy estimates the rooftop space available for solar panels to be 31 sq. km., giving Delhi a solar energy potential of 2500 MW (annual Generation approx. 3,500 million kWh). In line with GoI’s target of 40 GW from Rooftop Solar, Delhi has established solar generation targets of 1 GW (1000 MW) by 2020 (4.2% of energy consumed) and 2.0 GW (2000 MW) by 2025 (6.6% of energy consumed). Some of the highlights of the policy include: The discoms shall give priority and preference to sourcing at least 75% of their RPO targets within the state of Delhi. All solar energy generated at a net-metered connection site in a DISCOM’s territory shall count towards that DISCOM’s RPO target. Rooftop solar is mandatory for all Govt. buildings with rooftop area of 500 m2. A Generation Based Incentive (GBI) of Rs. 2.00 per unit (kWh) of gross solar energy generated is being offered for 3 years. The height of the module structure carrying solar panels shall not be counted towards the total height of the building as permitted by building by-laws, except near airports where building regulations issued by the Airports Authority of India take precedence. No approval will be required from concerned Municipal Corporation or other Urban Development Bodies like the DDA for putting up solar plants including any additional system for monitoring the performance of solar plant in existing or new buildings.
What is the uptake of Led bulbs, Tube light, etc., under the GoI’s UJALA scheme in Delhi?
BSES in collaboration with EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited) is facilitating the distribution of highly subsidised LED bulbs in South, West, East and Central Delhi. Since the launch of the scheme on June 1, 2015, over 55 lakh LED bulbs have been distributed. These will cumulatively lead to energy savings of a whopping over 124 Million Units per annum (vis-à-vis CFLs) (BRPL over 80 million).
Is BSES machinery geared up to meet the demand of the festival season just round the corner?
BSES is fully geared up for the festival season. Joining-in the festivities and with an eye on Delhi’s pollution levels, BSES discoms are providing ‘Tatkal’ temporary electricity connection for Pujas, Pandals, Marriages and even Construction activities. Getting them is not only hassle-free, it is also cheaper, safer, noise and pollution free. Under the innovative scheme, a consumer is able to get a temporary connection the same day of applying and completing the requisite commercial formalities. Typically, it can take between three-five days to get a temporary connection. Apart from this, our operations and maintenance teams are put also on high alert to take care of any contingency.
What is the BSES’s growth strategy for the next three years?
BSES is committed to energy efficiency, adoption of green technologies and smart procurement initiatives that will result in optimised solutions for us and our consumers. We will continue to provide reliable services and offerings to the discom’s over 42 lakh consumers and leverage opportunities in areas of smart and emerging technologies. BSES discoms have entered into strategic tie-ups with organisations like TERI, EESL, GIZ to develop technologies like Rooftop solar, Smart Meters, Electric Vehicles (EV)/EV charging stations, Solar irrigation pumps, Energy storage solutions, capacity-building programmes, Distributed Energy Resources and implementation of Manual and AutoDemand Response programmes. These collaborations will explore deployment of these emerging technologies to bring in energy efficiency, promote renewables and reduce the peak power demand in South, West, East and Central Delhi. A major thrust area will be replacement of around 10,000 inefficient agricultural pumps, which will lead to energy savings of up to 120 million units over 3 years. Another important thrust will be setting-up EV charging stations along with EESL. The focus will continue on high degree of consumer engagement and on digitization.