Andhra Government Partners with AutoGrid Systems to bring transformational change in the electricity sector in India through DSM and IoT

In a major step towards ushering in a transformational change in the electricity sector, the Government of Andhra Pradesh, in association with AutoGrid, announced an initiative aimed at adopting smart grid and Internet of Things (IoT)-based solutions to improve utilities’ health and customer experiences.

At the Partnership Summit, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu unveiled the programme, which involves demand-side management (DSM) programs covering key segments, including agricultural pump-sets, residential/commercial ACs and industrial units. The Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company (APSPDCL) will use the programs to evaluate its benefits to the utility as well as to the consumers in the state.

Speaking about the initiative, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, N. Chandrababu Naidu said, “The Government of Andhra Pradesh shall be forming a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with AutoGrid to commercialise, scale up and replicate their technologies – as well as globally – upon the successful completion of these projects. This will also cover other applications such as grid-scale optimisations, and MicroGrids.”

APSPDCL, one of the most progressive utilities in the nation, provides over 28 TWh of electricity annually to its nearly 11 million consumers. In spite of being one of the best run utilities in India, APSPDCL’s latest statement show a net deficit of Rs. 3,400 crores per year (approximately USD 500 million) on annual revenues of nearly Rs. 14,900 crores (approximately USD 2.3 billion).

The DSM solutions in the project will enable benefits of over Rs. 1000 Cr per year (over USD 150 million) when deployed at scale. This savings will be achieved via peak shaving for capex avoidance, time of use implementation to leverage cheaper power at off-peak hours; soil moisture- based pump-set operation to intelligently reduce power used for agricultural purposes, AC cycling to drive both efficiency and peak load shaving, and integration to incorporate cheaper solar and supply without impacting reliability or quality of service.

“This project with AutoGrid further reinforces Government of Andhra Pradesh’s commitment to become a technology leader in the IoT and energy sector”, said Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary (Energy), Ajay Jain. “We expect this project to further extend the lead that AP has in terms of reliability and power quality, and will serve a model of how utilities across India can utilize IoT and big data analytics to improve their operations” he added.

The World Bank and Government of India estimate the DSM investment potential in India is Rs. 160,000 Cr (USD 25 billion), driving 180 billion kWh/year energy savings and avoiding 60 GWh of additional generation capacity investment, i.e. somewhere in the range of Rs. 400,000 Cr (USD 60 billion) capex avoidance. However, DSM in India has yet to be widely adopted due to a broad set of limitations.

“We are excited to be partnering with APSPDCL and the Government of Andhra Pradesh tobring a proven solution deployed at some of the leading global utilities around the world for the first time to India.” said Amit Narayan, Chief Executive Officer of AutoGrid Systems. This solution not only provides significant savings to the utility, but also delivers strong benefits to consumers, thereby aiding in improved governance,” he added. As the global leader in Demand Response Management Systems (DRMS), AutoGrid has deployed its DSM solutions at dozens of utilities worldwide that manage several GW of flexible load.

“AutoGrid has evaluated the needs of DSM in India and, by working with the utilities and Government of Andhra Pradesh (along with inputs from other states/utilities), has engineered a solution with a set of partners that enables several DSM use cases specific to the Indian context to be addressed effectively,” Narayan added.

Three use cases are proposed by AutoGrid for DSM adoption to be undertaken by APSPDCL:

  • Agricultural pump-sets remote activation based on time of use to match surplus and cheap power in night or mid-day, and based on soil moisture levels monitored by IoT, will reduce power subsidies, save ground water and provide convenience to millions of farmers with respect to the frequency of visits to their fields. The cost of AutoGrid’s proposed IoT solution is 100x less than that of solar pumpsets and 10x less than that of smart pumpsets.
  • Capex saving via peak load shaving and high return on investment through using remote cycling of power to residential/commercial ACs. This also leads to reduced energy bills for the consumers, and provides convenience and peace of mind with reference to AC use during night or when outside the home. The cost of delivering 1W of with AutoGrid’s solution is 10x less than the total cost incurred by the utility (via a state subsidy) and customer for purchase of an energy efficient AC.
  • Capex saving via peak load shaving using remote and intelligent cycling of power to non-critical industrial loads – this will also enable factory owners and industrialists to accurately monitor/control energy spending, and automatically save a part of their energy costs without expensive, unpopular changes. The speed and cost of industrial demand response that AutoGrid enables represents a significant improvement over what was possible through complex and highly-customised industrial DSM solutions deployed earlier.

AutoGrid and its partners look forward to engaging the Government of Andhra Pradesh and APSPDCL in these path-breaking programs which will create the basis for transformational changes in the electricity sector.

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