Innovative, Cutting Edge & Disruptive technologies adopted by CESC towards building a Sustainable, Secure, Safe, Robust and Resilient Network
CESC has adopted various cutting-edge disruptive and innovative technologies for creating a Sustainable, Secure, Safe, Robust and Resilient Network.
CESC takes utmost care to put a robust and resilient network in place. Most of the substations are equipped with Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) along with ring main connectivity. GIS facilitates station capacity augmentation utilizing the same space and also helps to convert existing outdoor substations into indoor ones for better reliability and safety. In order to cater to the growing load demand and maintain quality uninterrupted power supply to its Consumers, the Import Points are being upgraded to higher Voltage levels to handle more power. Ring network connectivity is established across all Voltage levels to achieve faster restoration. Moreover, essential bulk load Consumers like Airport, Metro Railways, Hospitals, major Jute mills etc. are also provided with multiple supply connectivity such that restoration is achieved at the earliest following interruption.
Capacitor banks of various capacities, Automatic Voltage Regulators (AVR) and Automatic Power Factor Controller (APFC) are deployed across the network starting from EHV to LV levels to maintain proper Voltage levels. Additionally, Automatic Power Factor Controllers (APFCs) are installed for Technical Loss reduction.
CESC has deployed State-of-the-art SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system, way back in nineties for better network visibility, monitoring and control. The SCADA system is being continuously upgraded for adding more features which would leverage network monitoring, operation and control capabilities in order to have an optimum mix of generation & import to provide the most economic basket of power to the customers. A prospective project of upgrading the SCADA system to a more sophisticated and future-ready one has been taken up.
Remote Terminal Units (RTU) located at all the EHV/HV Substations and Generating Stations are an integral part of the SCADA System which act as Gateways for data to flow from the field to the Central Control Centre and for commands to reach from the Central Control Centre.
In the event of major faults in EHV / HV network restoration of supply is carried out from the Central Control Centre through SCADA.
HV Automation has been deployed at strategic locations viz. Drainage Pumping stations, Hospitals, burning ghats, Govt. buildings and Offices etc. to restore power within minutes. Self-healing network is also being deployed at strategic locations (both RMU and Substations) which ensures supply restoration within blink of an eye without any manual intervention.
Sensitive LT supply points also have Auto-Changeover (in-house developed) facilities. In case of an outage of the primary supply, the system automatically switches to stand-by supply thus maintaining an uninterrupted 24 x 7 power supply to such Consumers.
All the Distribution Transformers, HT & LT bulk Consumers are equipped with AMR (Automated Meter Reading) enabled meters which facilitates remote billing, outage monitoring etc. DTR metering helps in optimizing both CAPEX and OPEX.
Smart meters are also being deployed at strategic locations looking at specific benefits, which provides real-time insights about the electrical parameters at Consumer's end and helps to take necessary actions.
Numerical Relays and Disturbance Recorders are deployed since nineties for protection of various equipment. CESC has commissioned 'Wide Area Monitoring' (WAM) system using Phaser Measurement Unit (PMU) functionality of Disturbance Recorders installed at its substations which provides better network visibility and monitoring. This system helps in understanding and analysing the disturbances caused in the network, analyse the same and take subsequent restoration decisions quickly.
A State-of-the-art Special Protection Scheme (SPS) is in place which helps in tackling Disturbances external to CESC's network via 'Islanding'. This had enabled CESC to isolate itself from the faltering grid in 2012 Power Grid collapse and avoid blackout. Furthermore, CESC also provided the start-up power to the generating plants in Eastern Region facilitating quick restoration.
CESC has its own Optical Fibre communication network which has enabled all its Establishments, Substations etc. to stay connected 24 X 7. The same is spread across the entire licensed area facilitating seamless transportation of OT & IT data. CESC is the first Discom in the country to have deployed cutting-edge 10G ready MPLS TP technology to transport OT data. The communication system is also being upgraded to make it future-ready so that all smart grid applications can ride on it.
CESC has changed its maintenance regime from 'Preventive' to 'Predictive' through comprehensive online asset health monitoring and assessment with the help of Industry 4.0 based IoT Technologies like embedded remote IoT-based sensors at critical equipment like switchgears, transformers, etc. Remote IoT (Internet of Things) based sensors (temperature, humidity, vibration, fluid level etc.) are installed at equipment for real-time health monitoring. LT pillar boxes at strategic locations are equipped with smart IoT sensors like Smoke, Theft and Water logging which throws up alerts when thresholds are breached. The data sent by these sensors and modern equipment are fed into head end system for monitoring and running analytics to maintain pristine asset health.
Recently, CESC has also designed and deployed IoT devices communicating over MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) protocol to receive power interruption alerts from critical supply points like Covid vaccination centres.
Drones and Pan-tilt motor mounted thermal camera are being deployed for monitoring and thermal imaging of transmission towers and outdoor yards respectively.
Moreover, an asset health management dashboard is maintained and utilised for better asset management, track status of various maintenance jobs envisaged and identify old assets deemed suitable for replacement.
Keeping in mind the scarcity of space, certain space consolidation techniques in both building & equipment front are being adopted through prudent engineering practices such as multi-tier substations, usage of GIS with Bay controller & Protection Unit (BCPU), multi-winding transformers, unit cooler type transformers etc.
To ensure infrastructure readiness at the earliest without compromising on sustainability, initiatives such as Containerized substations, Pre-engineered Building (PEB) etc. are also being adopted. CESC is the first Discom in the country to install & commission a 132/33kV underground substation in the heart of the city.
On safety front, the company has complied with recommended safety and fire protocols, practices and guidelines. NIDS Nitrogen Injection Drain & Stir ( NIDS ) system, Water Spraying System and fire sensors are installed at strategic locations to enhance fire safety. Dry type DTRs are installed at sensitive locations like Markets, Hospitals, Educational Institutes to address public safety. Ester Oil Filled transformers are also installed at such locations to safeguard against incidents of fire hazards.
CESC has introduced IOT based technology of Water level indicator at our Distribution Pillar Boxes in select water-logging prone areas. This helps us to ensure electrical safety during water-logging. Affixed to our Overground Distribution Boxes, it senses the increasing water level during heavy rainfall and alerts us by generating automatic dockets in our CRM system and also triggers SMS to desired recipients to enable proactive preventive actions.
Bare overhead conductors in select pockets of densely populated areas are being replaced with Aerial Branched (AB) Cables to provide additional resilience to our Overhead Network, during cyclone. Such replacements will help us to reduce the number of interruptions during storms/ cyclones as well as ensure additional safety.
CESC has conducted PoC of remote monitoring and quality assurance of jobs through Body worn camera.
Large scale integration of renewable energy, which are intermittent and distributed in nature poses serious challenge to grid operations. So, balancing electrical supply & demand which has always been a prime concern for a power utility is becoming difficult and hence demands integration of storage. CESC has commissioned its first grid connected 315 kWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) in joint collaboration with M/s. Exide Industries. The company is aggressively exploring options for installation of a grid scale (MWh) BESS.
CESC has commissioned its First Microgrid with 100kWp Floating Solar System and 218kWh Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) at their Chakmir Substation near Maheshtala. Micro-grid is a prospective self-reliant power system that enables the integration of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as renewables like solar along with storage provision. It also provides resiliency to the central grid.
Roof top Solar PV panels are installed at substations and offices, integrated to grid which essentially caters to the local auxiliary load demand of the establishment.
CESC in its effort to adopt Sustainable Technology to keep the city clean & its people future-ready and perform better on ESG framework, has adopted certain initiatives.
Adoption of EVs is the key to reduce carbon footprint in the transportation sector via elimination of harmful tailpipe emission causing health hazards. EVs are being deployed for in-house usage. CESC has also subscribed to Technology driven electric bike rental platform for in-house commute. Moreover, it has engaged with EV manufacturers to promote this clean transportation technology to its Consumers.
CESC is strongly committed in priming of the EV Ecosystem by creating & facilitating charging infrastructure across its licensed area. Three EV Public Charging Stations are installed in collaboration with KMC at city centres viz. Park Circus, Beck Bagan & Dhakuria. Captive EV Charging stations are also installed at the company's establishments for captive use. The company is aggressively exploring options to scale up the charging infrastructure so that the EV commuters do not face range anxiety.
It has also provided supply to West Bengal Transport Corporation (WBTC) at 25 nos. bus depots for charging of E-buses and is ready to extend supplies to the upcoming depots supporting electric bus charging. CESC has been aggressively promoting EVs in various Public events like the Kolkata Book Fair, where the daily footfall exceeds one lac, largely attended popular Musical Festivals & other events.
CESC also promotes E-Cooking as a safer, cleaner and more convenient alternative to conventional cooking technologies in the form of converting several restaurants to E-cooking from Conventional cooking methods, organizing awareness campaigns in partnership with BCC&I, HRAEI, CREDAI, Copper Association etc. at several Societies, Educational Institutions, Malls and Clubs.
It is also actively promoting the usage of the recent series of Energy Efficient and Eco-friendly Air Conditioners and other appliances to its Consumers.
CESC has a smart 'Distribution Management System' (DMS) and 'Energy Management System' (EMS) in place for monitoring the HV and EHV network on real-time basis. These enables the system operator stationed at the State-of-the-art 'Central Control Room' to maintain an ideal supply-demand scenario, take correct steps for faster restoration of supply, guide the field operators to safely isolate the faulty part of network and provide access for fault restoration. Operation steps to be followed for restoring network supply is mapped against respective network abnormalities and the same is integrated with the above systems.
In LT network, a modern 'Complaint Management System' is operational for addressing Consumer complaints effectively by optimally grouping and filtering the outage calls, based on which field force is being deployed to carry out restoration. This helps the field force to attend calls more effectively in a focused manner.
CESC has created a decentralized GPS-based field-force management system for breakdown repair team to reduce downtime during an outage. A separate state-of-the-art LT Control Room is in place to track breakdown calls, monitor call duration and ensure supply restoration at the earliest. The company is also continuously evaluating its resiliency preparedness and continuously upgrading its infrastructure to improve the same.
An advanced live GIS (Geographical Information System) is in place depicting geo-referenced location of assets like transformers, poles, pillar boxes, cables etc. and for monitoring various live operations. In CESC we have developed an innovative Vegetation Management solution to scientifically ensure that our overhead lines are clear from vegetation (i.e. tree branches) by superimposing Google Earth Satellite image, which captures vegetation and land base, on to our home-grown GIS Map, where in all Poles, overhead lines and other overground installations are plotted. The locations where the image of vegetation is overlapping our Poles and lines are the potential areas of concern. Computer software gives a list of such locations with Pole No. and Road name where the trees and plants are infringing with the Poles and Line. It then becomes easy for our Operation team to go down to the pin-pointed sites and remove the vegetation with help of local authorities, if necessary.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) / Machine Learning (ML) based analytics is being deployed on the large amount of data generated by the IoT-based sensors housed within equipment to predict potential failures. Analytics is also deployed to resolve low voltage issues, detect meter failures, address overloading of transformer and feeders, Optimization of Capex etc. CESC has also developed a Social Sentiment Analysis tool to track & engage with Consumers & provide superior Customer Experience ( CX ).
With the addition of smart infrastructure for smart operations in the distribution system, the people, who would be manning the field, needs to be equipped with enabling field devices, like Tablet or Mobile phone-based application software, for carrying out field operations also in a smart manner. In order to improve operational performance and increase employee productivity, CESC extensively uses Workforce Automation & Business Process Automation Technologies for agile functioning.
Tab-based meter reading and Inspection enables meter readers/inspectors helping in capturing and saving the meter reading data electronically. Interactive mobile and web applications are also developed to carry out various activities.
Furthermore, equipping the field personnel with prior back-end information running on applications in mobility platform helps faster & effective decision-making on the edge.
CESC has developed an in-house mobile application for capturing real-time protection events & system disturbances through push notifications which help the protection team to view the records on the move, and help them in precise decision making. CESC has also transferred its protection data over the 'cloud'.
In order to improve cycle times and process accuracy, processes are being targeted for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) initiatives, as well as addressing areas for better decision-making at the edges through Business Process Automation.
CESC has embarked on implementing Demand-side energy management solutions for demand response and P2P energy trading with Blockchain technology.
CESC has also embraced digital transformation by adopting various sustainable future ready technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), Virtual Reality (VR), Digital Twin, 3D modelling of substations etc.
On Consumer front, the company has introduced a plethora of digital services and created a digital ecosystem over its Website as well as Mobile App, to ensure that Consumers can avail Supply and Commercial related services like New Connection, Name Change, AC application etc. on their finger tips from the safety of their homes. It also encourages the Consumers to switch to digital payment mode and avail extra 1% Rebate. CESC provides a host of options for Digital Payment to its Consumers, such as NEFT/RTGS, Net Banking, Credit/Debit Card, Bharat QR, UPI, ECS, Auto Pay, Wallets, etc.
It has enhanced its Consumer engagement through mobility solutions like Wondermail (A SMS solution providing easy payment solution), digital multilingual Voice BOT 'Aastha', AI/ML enabled WhatsApp BOT & Chat BOT 'eBuddy'.
The WhatsApp BOT & Chat BOT is driven by features such as NLP, NLL, Speech-to-Text, etc and offers Services to the Consumers such as View/Download Bill, report Supply Off, Complaint Registration, Complaint Status, FAQs, and a lot of other services. 'Aastha', the newly introduced VoiceBot, a humanoid, is enabled with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Natural Language Understanding and Processing capabilities, and is integrated with the existing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) & Outage Management System to ensure quick & uniform assistance to the Consumers. CESC is the first power utility in the country to introduce such multi-lingual voice-based assistance via CRM for outage management. All these services are available 24*7. We are continuously adding/improving these AI based Services for better and enriched Consumer Experience.
CESC also has its presence on various Social Media Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn & YouTube. CESC's Facebook page has been continuously marked as very responsive.
CESC has leveraged IT substantially to reduce the Carbon Footprint. Digitalization has been embraced in many processes so that they become paperless like New Connection process is available in Online mode & the entire process is paperless. CESC has enhanced both transparency and governance embraced paperless auction through home grown e-Procurement System.
HCI (Hyper-Converged Infrastructure) & Virtualization technology has been adopted to reduce the Carbon Footprint in the Data Centre and Disaster Recovery sites. Technology consolidation of servers at the Data Centre & the DR sites have led to an 8-fold decrease of server footprint over the last few years.
Another initiative is exploring different opportunities to use cloud for secure data storage on a need-basis e.g. for operations using large data spikes and frequency, for storage of ad-hoc large volumes of data.
The Power Generation plants use digital and ICT technology widely to monitor all Environmental parameters related to emission, effluence and air quality in real time which are shared with statutory bodies through dedicated on-line channels for necessary compliance. The plants’ remote performance monitoring and diagnostics system not only provides a rich set of industrial analytic libraries but also provide a unique framework to create machine learning analytics, which assist in predicting critical failures and driving efficiencies and safety.
CESC strives to adopt the best practices and establish a sound governance structure to assess potential risks, monitor the information systems and security controls & take preventive & corrective actions wherever applicable for which it imparts regular training to a team of security personnel involved in such job. The Corporate Datacentre is ISO 27001 certified.
CESC has a practice of periodic security assessment by CERT-IN empanelled auditors for its IT-OT setups across Distribution and embedded Generation landscape. It is also working with nodal agencies towards achieving a Critical Information Infra framework (CII) and strengthening its current cyber-crisis management plan.
All the above will help us in our readiness for adopting a compliant privacy setup when the India Data Protection bill gets legislated.
The CESC Enterprise Information Systems rely on its pervasive corporate data network, i.e. the CESCNET touching more than 200 sites. The Company responded to the pandemic last year by providing enhanced WFH access through secure and encrypted VPN connections and also by enabling easy access to business-critical IT Applications to a large number of the business users. In order to enable virtual collaboration throughout the pandemic period, the Company has adopted digital platforms for holding almost all business & statutory meetings including Town Halls, statutory and multi-stakeholder meetings, through Audio & Video conferencing modes. All employee trainings are now well-equipped to adopt the hybrid (phygital) platform route.
As the infra & application ecosystems continue to be dynamic, the Organisation on review of its Business Continuity plan (BCP), is working to upgrade its Data Centre (DC) & Disaster Recovery (DR) sites at the same time, establishing a state-of-the-art 24x7 Network Operation Centre (NOC) & Security Operation Centre (SOC), to ensure unhindered business continuity