Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, it became clear that discoms need to wrap off manual processes and shift to digital, deliberated Vishesh Garhpale, Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Madhya Kshetra Vidyut Vitaran Corporation Ltd., while addressing the Digital Governance Cloud and AI Summit on the theme ‘Empowering Energy & Utilities’.
Speaking on recovery from the COVID crisis, he said, “We immediately started WhatsApp chatbots for complaint redressal and customer service. Also, during this time we saw a lot of our customer care executives getting infected. So to keep the call centres running we immediately floated tenders to set up an AI-based call centre so that we will be able to answer calls without manual interference.”
On data management, he said, “Discoms have a lot of data but they do not have a good analytical tool. So we need an analysis of this data so that with minimum efforts and inputs, maximum output can be achieved. We have started an AI-based vigilance app and which is coming in as a helpful tool… We are looking forward to having an advanced tool, either AI-based or machine learning, wherein we can better forecast our demands.” Further, meter data management software is being developed. It is cloud-based software, added Garhpale.
Lauding the authority’s efforts, he said, “I proudly announce that we have our own data centre and we host all our applications from the centre.” The data centre has been recently updated and it is estimated that for a few more years the data can be managed from the centre and then cloud adoption will be the possible option for further processing of that huge data. There is clearly mentioned in the tender document that if the data centre is not able to cater to the needs then the cloud will be adopted, he added.
“Though we have a great team of software engineers who are developing almost all the applications in-house, we are looking forward to private firms to further improve our capacity. Also, we have started the implementation of the e-office system, developed by the National Informatics Centre, for business continuity during the lockdown,” Garhpale said. Moreover, there are a few systems for substation monitoring like meter data acquisition systems in all our feeders, we have SCADA in major cities and we are further implementing RT-DAS and SS-DAS for substation monitoring. So, real-time monitoring is being done… We are also looking forward to implementing smart meters. Indore already has two lakh smart meters, however, we are planning smart metering in all R-APDRP towns, he added.
Calling Madhya Pradesh the ‘flag-bearer’ in adopting new technologies for development, Vinit Mishra closed the Garhpale’s address.