artificial intelligence: India seeks AI solutions from IT companies and startups to reduce power loss
India’s AT&C losses are among the highest in the world, worse even than those of Bangladesh, posing a major challenge to the financial viability of the entire power sector. Technology service providers will use artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain and Internet of Things in the electricity distribution sector to analyze the data that will be available through the implementation of consumer metering, transformers and feeder lines in distribution areas.
Through the use of advanced technologies, nightclubs will be well equipped to make decisions regarding loss reduction, demand forecasting, differential day rate and renewable energy integration. “Increased technological interventions will help facilitate the operational and financial viability of distribution companies,” said a senior government official.
Around 14 discoms from nine states including Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh have expressed interest in AI solutions.
For each nightclub issue identified, 4 to 5 technology providers, 2 to 3 established players and 1 to 2 start-ups will be pre-selected based on their proposals. Startup TSPs would receive a grant of up to Rs 40 lakh, while no financial assistance will be provided to non-startups.
REC Ltd, the designated agency for the program, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SINE under IIT Bombay as the incubator-technology partner. SINE Mumbai is expected to announce the challenge of identifying technology service providers soon.
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The plan is part of the reform-based and performance-linked program of Rs 3.03 lakh crore, and the Ministry of Energy has approved a corpus of Rs 4 crore for the first year.
“Huge data will be generated when we implement smart meters in a limited timeframe. We are aware that this data needs to be analyzed intelligently so that it leads to actionable good points for utility managers and policy makers,” said Energy Secretary Alok Kumar. He said once the AI models mature, they will be replicated across the country.
Kumar said India’s average distribution losses are 20%, but for many utilities it is between 40 and 45%, while a few utilities lose more than 50%. According to available data, in 2018-2019, distribution losses in neighboring Bangladesh, which started electricity reforms much later, were 11.96%. “Let’s leave out other developed countries where T&D losses are 4-6%. So, India has a big lesson to learn and a big challenge to face,” he said.