A green revolution is coming?

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With IT solutions that optimise business and customer processes, we could soon be seeing onset of smart utilities

The power utility industry in India has taken keen interest in delivering new efficiencies in business processes, customer relationships and partnerships. Adoption of technology in power sector has enabled power companies, through optimisation of resources, to help boost productivity in every sphere of business.

Today, comprehensive set of software, technologies, and services tailored to help government improve operations are available. Likewise, there is availability of deep industry expertise and experience in enabling power industries in India be sustainable, collaborative, and energy efficient. The solutions can enable organisations to optimise key end-to-end business processes and achieve key business goals that can bring in maximum energy efficiency with energy capital management processes for optimising energy portfolios and smart master data integration. Other benefits include financial excellence through processes optimised for financial performance management; high-performing assets with processes optimised for enterprise asset management; and operational excellence with processes optimised for operations management.

A key trend seen in the power sector in the year 2010 was enhancing of operation efficiencies through the R-APDRP program. The key objective of the R-APDRP program is to reduce the aggregate technical and commercial losses through strengthening and up-grading sub transmission and distribution networks, and adoption of information technology for establishment of baseline data for energy accounting and fixation of accountability. The year ahead is expected to see a revolution in the power industry with this new initiative.

Some of the organisations to watch for are:

  • Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. Ltd (MAHAGENCO): It is standardising business processes and optimising energy and natural resource efficiency in order to improve profitability and deliver better energy for the residents of Maharashtra.

  • Himachal Pradesh State Electricity Distribution & Generation company: The company is furthering its mission to provide uninterrupted, reliable and quality power supply around the clock and throughout the year to all its customers, as well as make HP ‘a hydro power state’

  • West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (WBSEDCL): It has a complete business integration done through ERP application that covers accounting, human resources, stores and, project management functions as well.

Going forward, some of the key trends that are expected to pick up are:

  • System strengthening: Increased investment in technologies and tools across the energy value chain to improve energy and operational efficiency will be one of the major game changers. Sustained emphasis will be on improving the current systems and business processes such as billing and collections, ERP, metering and infrastructure, grievance handling and services. Improved efforts to reduce cost will drive changes in business processes, IT functionality requirements, and IT spending. Wider use of communication and control technologies will further drive the creation of smarter grids. Utilities will continue to pursue strategies focusing on operational excellence and improving business processes.

  • Regulatory uncertainties: Regulators will significantly influence utilities calling for greater disclosure and stricter compliance. Regulatory forces shall be in areas of reliability, unbundling of distribution and ultra mega generation projects, distribution open access and policy changes. Climate change regulation will increase adoption of new energy technologies, including more expensive renewable and nuclear generation. Emphasis on reliability will lead towards adoption of smarter-grid initiatives and enterprise-wide software solutions.

  • Customer management: Utilities will look for ways to service customers in a more cost effective manner. With changing customer needs and purchase behaviours, they will offer more rate choices. IT investment is expected to increase in areas like dynamic pricing, advanced metering system, outage management, CRM, analytics and meter-to-cash solutions.

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