Scholarly article on topic 'Smart Grid and Retail Competition in India: A Review on Technological and Managerial Initiatives and Challenges'

Smart Grid and Retail Competition in India: A Review on Technological and Managerial Initiatives and Challenges Academic research paper on "Earth and related environmental sciences"

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Procedia Technology
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{"Retail competition in India" / "Review on smart grid implementation" / "Power sector competition"}

Abstract of research paper on Earth and related environmental sciences, author of scientific article — Akhil Joseph

Abstract Retail competition in power sector can enable fully competitive power distribution model which when integrated with smart grid technology such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) can become more effective. Retail competition influences the stakeholders in three different ways; i) consumers can avail cheaper power, ii) reduction of losses in power system, and iii) there can be options for consumers to choose the best service provider. A fast developing economy like India cannot shut doors against these benefits. But there are challenges in realising benefits of retail competition. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art of smart grid development in India. It is essential that the smart grid development and retail competition implementation should go in a synchronized manner. Given this, in the review the smart grid and retail competition initiatives and challenges are divided into two main categories. First is technological initiatives and challenges, and second is the managerial initiatives and challenges. Major technological initiatives are dynamic grid control, renewable energy integration, privacy and security, and communication infrastructure. Managerial initiatives discuss recent electricity bill 2014, policy initiatives, programs for smart grid development, etc.

Academic research paper on topic "Smart Grid and Retail Competition in India: A Review on Technological and Managerial Initiatives and Challenges"

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Procedía Technology 21 (2015) 155 - 162

SMART GRID Technologies, August 6-8, 2015

Smart Grid and Retail Competition in India: A Review on Technological and Managerial Initiatives and Challenges

Akhil Josepha*

aDepartment of Management Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India

Abstract

Retail competition in power sector can enable fully competitive power distribution model which when integrated with smart grid technology such as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) can become more effective. Retail competition influences the stakeholders in three different ways; i) consumers can avail cheaper power, ii) reduction of losses in power system, and iii) there can be options for consumers to choose the best service provider. A fast developing economy like India cannot shut doors against these benefits. But there are challenges in realising benefits of retail competition. This paper reviews the state-of-the-art of smart grid development in India. It is essential that the smart grid development and retail competition implementation should go in a synchronized manner. Given this, in the review the smart grid and retail competition initiatives and challenges are divided into two main categories. First is technological initiatives and challenges, and second is the managerial initiatives and challenges. Major technological initiatives are dynamic grid control, renewable energy integration, privacy and security, and communication infrastructure. Managerial initiatives discuss recent electricity bill 2014, policy initiatives, programs for smart grid development, etc.

© 2015The Authors. PublishedbyElsevier Ltd.This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University Keywords: Retail competition in India, Review on smart grid implementation, Power sector competition

1. Introduction

For the accelerated growth of the economy, power should be available at all time with a standard quality and at an affordable price. Electricity sector was one of the subsectors of Indian economy that showed slow growth during 2011-12[1]. Thus, reforms in power distribution which can improve financial and technical performance of the

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +91-8762260151 E-mail address: akhilj@mgmt.iisc.ernet.in

2212-0173 © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of Amrita School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham University doi:10.1016/j.protcy.2015.10.083

power sector should be planned and implemented as soon as possible[2]. Section 14 of electricity act, 2003 provides provision for distribution franchisee under a distribution licensee without obtaining separate license. Introduction of distribution franchisee has improved the efficiency of many distribution license areas. Bhiwandi in Maharashtra, India is an example. On December 2006, Torrent Power took over the responsibility of power distribution in Bhiwandi area from Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL) as a distribution franchisee. Before the takeover, the prevailing aggregate technical and commercial loss (AT&C) in the area was 58% and at the end of 2008-09, the AT&C loss was 24% which isa significant loss reduction in two year[3]. The Bhiwandi case refers to the need of a private party intervention in power supply/distribution business. Retail competition in power distribution is one such reform which enables intervention byprivate players. Retail competition in power distribution will separate current distribution model to two business entities. Distribution licensee will maintain the network and will serve as the provider of last mile connectivity. There will be other supply licensees to supply electricity through the same network. Supply companies would be selling power as well as providing other energy services. This includes priority based services, meeting demand by certain percent renewable source generated power by opting for premium packages, etc. Tariff would be determined based on the demand-supply balance. Consumer would be also enabled to sell power produced from decentralised sources like rooftop solar PV. This trade can be done on the real time basis, as well as through the financial derivative market. Incentive programs for the electricity saving by domestic and commercial consumers are also major highlights in this model.

This paper presents the analyses of the current scenario of Indian power sector in section 2. Environment for the power trading mechanism has also been studied. The major study is concentrated on the initiatives and challenges for the implementation of retail competition. In section 3, various initiatives for the implementation of smart grid has been discussed. In section 4, discussion is concentrated on the initiatives for implementation of retail competition in India. Section 5 is focused on the major challenges of retail competition implementation.

2. Overview of Indian electricity sector

India generated 1102.9 TWh of electricity in the year 2013 which was the third largest in the world after China and U.S.A. [4]. But on the other hand, all India per capita electricity consumption for the year 2012-13 stood at 914.41 kWh [5] which was below the world average. Total installed capacity as of January 2015 is 258.7 GW [6]. Power trading in Day Ahead Market (DAM) in India is done through two exchanges namely, Indian Energy Exchange Limited (IEX) and Power Exchange India Limited (PXIL). In January 2015 the electricity traded in the day ahead market at PXIL was 38MUs and at IEX was 2344MUs. Total generation in the country for January 2015 was 86446.22 MUs [7]. These figures show that only 2.75% of the electricity generated is traded through the exchanges which shows the immense potential for development of power exchanges based trading capability.Transparent wholesale market mechanism is a basic requirement for the retail competition environment. Without wholesale market, retail competition would be inefficient in performance[8]. An efficient wholesale market mechanism should enable the bulk power purchase at reasonable quality. Section 14 of the electricity act, 2003 allows multiple licensing in same distribution area. In same section, the act also allows to generate and distribute electricity without the license in rural area. According to section 14 distribution franchisee is a license free activity. This opens the window for competition and more transparent distribution business.

3. Initiatives for the deployment of smart grids in India

In this section, major initiatives taken for the accelerated deployment of smart grid is discussed. 3.1 Dynamic real-time grid control

Grid stability is a major concern of Indian electricity grid. The major black outs of 30th and 31st July, 2012 which affected the northern states of India, enforced the need of stringent regulations and new manner in grid discipline. Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Indian Electricity Grid Code) (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2014 substitutes new bandwidth as 49.90-50.05 Hz to maintain the stability. For a fast developing grid like Indian power grid, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)/Energy Management System (EMS) is not sufficient to

deal with the complexities. Existing SCADA/EMS has deployed in many levels over the entire geographic area of the country. Primary data collection is dealt by Remote Terminal Units (RTU) deployed at various locations. Data from the RTUs will be concentrated at the sub-Load Dispatch Centre level. This data further will be sent to State Load Dispatch Centres and Regional Load Dispatch Centres. This perhaps leaves a chance for latency at the control centre for 10-30 second range[9]. This varying nature of data acquisition will not provide real-time data. Power Grid Corporation India Ltd. has initiated the deployment of Wide Area Measurement System (WAMS) across the country under project named Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement. WAMS can collect 25 sample data per second.

In India WAMS deployment has been done as the pilot project under Unified Real Time Dynamic State Measurement (URTDSM) scheme. As the ultimate result URTDSM can measure the phase angles across the grid nodes in a real time manner to determine the grid stress with more accuracy than SCADA systems.

3.2 Smart grid implementation

In 2012, Ministry of Power, Government of India selected 14 smart grid pilot projects for the implementation to be done by the state distribution utilities. The total investment estimated for the project was approximately ?3.73 billion. Half of this fund would be borne by the Ministry of Power and the other half would be shared by various state utilities[10].

3.2.1. Advanced metering infrastructure

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is the backbone of smart grid and retail competition. It is a bidirectional communication network system in which instruction signals from the utility will flow to the consumer and data will be sent from consumer to the utility. AMI can serve the purpose of remote meter data collection, energy accounting & auditing, load management, and more. Major components of AMI are, smart meter, data communication network, meter data acquisition system, and meter data management system [11].

Majority of the pilot projects under implementation, deploy AMI for domestic and industrial consumers. States like Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, and Punjab have started the deployment of AMI for industrial consumers alone [12]. In a pilot project undertaken by Power Grid Corporation Limited (PGCIL) at Puducherry, has deployed over 1650 smart meters which communicate through radio frequencies, and GPRS technologies [13].

3.2.2. Demand Response

Fast and effective strategies are essential for the load management. Demand response is a dominating strategy for reducing or shifting the energy consumption pattern from peak demand to off-peak demand.

Major components essential for the demand response system are, consumer interface, AMI, and load control device. There are two types of demand response strategies, first is direct load control, which enables utility to control over the non-essential, high power consuming loads. Second strategy is dynamic pricing, which is the strategic pricing of the electricity based on the demand and supply[14]. Various pricing strategies like, time of the day pricing, critical peak pricing, real-time pricing, and peak time rebate can be applied to shift or reduce the power consumption [15]. So far, Puducherry pilot project has implemented a virtual demand response program which is yet to come to reality.

3.2.3. Smart Grid pilot projects and retail competition

Implementation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) in all identified 14 pilot project sites is progressing[16]. There is a highlighted plan of action with pilot project of Chamundeshwari Electric Supply Corporation (CESC} Ltd. Mysore, which has 21,824 number of consumers including domestic, agricultural, commercial, and industrial consumers. In this pilot project, apart from the implementation of the AMI, integration of micro grid, various knowledge portals, and data analytics are included. The pilot project has also proposed deployment of real time pricing of electricity by information sharing on Unscheduled Interchange/ Availability Based Tariff from load dispatch centres[17]. If there is fully functioning AMI with two way data communication, then the addition of formulation of framework mechanism for settlement can create an environment to implement

the retail competition [18]. Implementation of retail competition on a pilot study basis is possible at these pilot project sites after the successful implementation of the AMI.

3.3 Policy needs and initiatives

Smart grid is considered as the basic transition compulsory for the prevailing infrastructure. Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Program (R-APDRP), which has been subsumed to the Integrated Power Development Program (IPDS) has approved on November, 2014. Goal of R-APDRP program is to pave the path for the future smart grids. Major challenges of R-APDRP implementation includes, lack of skilled manpower, project delays due to the inexperience of IT implementation agencies, delay in first time large scale consumer indexing and geographical information system (GIS) mapping, delays in collection of data from National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), lack of infrastructures like buildings to setup consumer service centres, and other issues like software license related and data migration[19]. To accelerate the development of smart grid facilities it is essential to address these issues.

In India the cost of the meter is borne by the consumer. Hence willingness to pay by the consumer matters. Only smart meter cannot complete the smart grid definition. There are other infrastructure facility requirements like telecoms, data analytics, data centres, distribution asset monitoring systems, customer care centres, and many more[20]. As far as the perception of a utility is considered, the greatest challenge is to invest for development. For a utility the cheapest solution to all problem is load shedding. That means, when the future developments are curbed due to financial crisis, and under recovery of cost of power supply affects future power procurements, utilities opt for load shedding which prevents further incursion of losses.

Ministry of power is planning to launch National Smart Grid Mission to focus the development activities of smart grids. The mission has been proposed with a three tire framework structure. First level consists of governing council to provide approvals for the policies, funds, and guidance for the policies. Level two deals with project approvals, procedures, guidelines, and more. At level three, in order to operationalize the implementation activities national project management unit (NPMU) would be formed.

Policy regimes are not sufficient to address the issues like absence of economic incentives, R&D support, and adoption of new technologies[21]. Storage systems like pumped hydro, advanced batteries, battery power stored by decentralized systems, and electric vehicles have enough potential to serve during the varying demand supply conditions. In India, pumped storage systems are not functioning up to its designed capacity. One reason for this is the lack for incentives. Other reason is, pumped storage stations work in pure pumped mode for very few hours than required because surplus energy is not available in grid[22]. Pricing strategies, incentive mechanisms, participation improvement strategies are the major policy issues to be addressed to tap the advantage of storage technologies.

4. Managerial initiatives for the realization of the retail competition

Major discussion in this section is based on the recent Electricity (Amendment) Bill which is supposed to pave the path for retail competition.The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2014 was presented in Lok Sabha on December 19, 2014. The bill was aimed to amend the Electricity Act, 2003. The objective of the amendment was to segregate the distribution business to network and supply components. Under the act, there will be a distribution licensee who can distribute and supply the electricity to the customers. There is another provision for supply licensee who will supply the electricity to the end consumers. This results in a provision to transfer the supply license for supply licensee from distribution licensee.

Bill also enables the faster distribution network development. Distribution licensee is obliged toenable the supply to the consumer within 15 days of receiving the application. State Electricity Regulatory Commission will specify the electricity distribution code of electricity supply. This code will specify the information regarding the billing cycle, charges, disconnection of service in case of default etc.Regulatory commission will grand license to more than one supply license within the same area. This would enable competition as the consumer will be allowed to choose between the supply licensees. At least one supply licensee would be a government company or government controlled organization. Tariff structure of the distribution would be determined by the Central/State regulatory commissions. But, tariff for the supply of the electricity would be determined by the state regulatory commission.

Pricing would be based on the market demand and supply, provided price ceiling would be defined by the appropriate commission. Further, the bill looks forward to have a National Renewable Energy Policy to promote the renewable energy sources and decentralized distributed generation opportunities. The bill aims to promote the renewable source through tax rebates, renewable energy fund creation, generation based incentives and more.

5. Challenges for the introduction of retail competition

Certain challenges for implementation of retail competition have been elaborated in this section.

5.1. Power procurement from renewable energy sources

Electricity Act mandates the procurement of electricity from renewable sources for the distribution licensees in Section 86(e). But it does not mention about the sale of renewable power to the end consumer by the trader directly[2]. The possibility of net metering lies with the state government policies. States like Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujrat, Uttrakhand, Andhra Pradesh, and Delhi have come up with the net-metering policies. Often net-metering policies contradict with the REC, because for rooftop PV projects RE policy is not defined.

However, there is an excellent opportunity for the consumer to choose the most beneficial buyer if retail competition is implemented in such manner. But again, the question arises, in a competitive environment if a supplier procures renewable power from the end consumer at higher cost, then the supplier will end up in an inappropriate financial position [2]. As a solution to this situation REC policies can be extended to rooftop PV projects which are connected to the grid.Evacuation of power from renewable energy source is a major challenge due to the non-availability of the transmission grid infrastructure. Deployment of high capacity transmission infrastructure should get an equal priority as village electrification[23] gets. Initiatives like green corridor for renewable energy evacuation is a need of the hour to transmit the energy as well as to attract more investment to the potential sites.

5.2. Unbundling of tariff structure

Present tariff mechanism is based on the availability based tariff mechanism which is basically a three part frequency sensitive tariff mechanism [24]. The advantage of ABT is the improved grid discipline. But on the other side, for renewable energy projects, there are two power purchase mechanisms. They are, Feed-in Tariff (FiT) and the other one is Renewable Energy Certificate mechanism. FiT is a preferential tariff determined by the state government for the renewable energy source procurement, whereas, REC is a market based mechanism to bolster the renewable energy project investments and to support the utilities to meet their renewable purchase obligations (RPO).

For a retail competition enabled system, retail tariff would have certain components like; power procurement cost, transmission and wheeling charges, distribution charges, charges which account transmission and distribution losses, and cost of supply services [2]. Supply services consist of, cost associated with meter reading, billing, revenue collection, and consumer services. Implementation of prepaid metering mechanism can reduce the cost of supply services. In retail competition model, retailers can provide prepaid vouchers to retain their consumers for longer time.

5.3. Distribution monopoly and cross-subsidy

A distribution licensee area with single distribution licensee and consumers does not have choice to choose other service provider is a monopoly in distribution business. Introduction of the retail competition is the destruction of the monopoly and introduction of competition through new market entrants. Introduction of retail choice to large consumers will enable them to switch the retailer. When large consumers switch, that would make significant impact in the load served by the incumbent supplier.

Cross subsidising the consumer sectors will destruct the competition. When the consumer sectors are cross subsidised according to the purchasing power, the market participants would find it attractive to serve the

subsidising sector rather serving subsidising sector and subsidised sector equally. Hence, new market participant will prefer to serve the subsidising consumer at a cheaper cost than the incumbent supplier. This would call for a protection for the incumbent from losing consumers, which would in turn threat the competition[25].

5.4. Provider of last resort

Electricity (amendment) bill, 2014 includes new sub part to the electricity act, 2003. Section 51B(2) mention about the provider of last resort. According to Sec. 51B (2) provider of last resort would be obligated to supply electricity to the consumer in case of supply licensee ceases to supply or supply license of the supplier suspended[26]. Importance of this provision can be elaborated with the light of California electricity crisis. The 'State Legislation AB 1890' allowed the incumbent distributor to own the network and to be a retailer as well[27]. After the crisis when the utilities (Investor Owned Utilities) went bankrupt the consumer had to draw power from the incumbent distributor[8]. Hence, legislative frame work for the decision regarding the last resort supplier is important. The framework should include the tariff determination during the power drawl period from the incumbent supplier.

5.5. Power quality

Quality of the power is a major concern in the present Indian electricity context. Power quality can be defined as the suitable wiring and grounding practice followed to an equipment which is compatible to other equipment connected to the premise wiring network [28]. In a fully competitive power market, it is imperative to maintain the power quality to retain the consumer. Because the switching cost for the consumer is negligible.

5.6. Privacy and security

Smart Grid infrastructure is highly prone to privacy and security issues. Data on consumer personal information, energy consumption pattern, financial credibility etc. often inappropriately intrude consumers' privacy. In a retail competition model, data collected by the distribution network can be revealed to the supply licensee. Supply licensee would use the data to formulate the strategy to maximize sales of its products[15].

The primary reason for the major concern regarding the security is because of the under developed advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) interface. Development can be brought only with the experience. Hence, sceptical approach towards the deployment of the AMI does not solve the issue. Consumer points as well as the data collection points are exposed to the cyber-attacks. Replacing false information in the AMI can replace the control from administrator to any wrong hands. Development of viruses, malwares, firmware, malignant codes etc. could break the security barriers. Hence it is essential to track such activities and update the firmware capable to resist such cyber-attacks. For a consumer, the potential threats and implications would be unknown. Therefore, total awareness and agreement from consumer is an imperative factor to be fulfilled before the actual transaction of data occurs [29].

5.7. Integration of renewable energy sources

Synchronization of renewable energy source to grid without incurring any power loss is a challenge[30]. In retail competition model consumer will be enabled to trade their power to grid through net metering mechanism. Therefore, in this model two types of traders are connected to the grid. One is domestic consumers who are equipped with small capacity power sources like rooftop solar PV, or small wind turbines and other type is on-grid large scale renewable energy producers. But there are some technical norms associated with the grid integration, which are elaborated below;

5.7.1. Anti-islanding

According to IEEE 2000, Islanding is the part of power system with one more sources serves the load even

though the system is in disconnected condition from the synchronized grid for a short period of time. Islanding can cause danger situation, especially during maintenance works, when power from the renewable sources fed to the grid even when the network is disconnected from grid. Hence for all renewable sources, suitable anti-islanding scheme should be provided. This would further increase the capital cost of the integration system. According to IEEE standards IEEE Std. 1547-2003 4.4.1 specifies the unintentional islanding detection and cease to energize the network time limit as two seconds [31].

5.7.2. Storage

Depending on the consumer preference, storage device can be integrated to the domestic power plant setup. Even though there will be significant rise in the capital cost, benefit is worth. Storage device is the simple solution to overcome the intermittency issue of renewable energy source. Direct feeding of power to grid without any storage device is a simple method. Gandhinagar Solar Rooftop Program is one of such kind[32]. However, there are some difficulties involved if storage device is connected to the system. On a hybrid inverter-battery connected system, battery will charge with power from the rooftop PV and from the grid. In that case, if the consumer is enabled to trade their power, then battery can be charged using the grid power and traded back to the grid at higher cost which results loss to the utility. This issue should be addressed carefully.

5.7.3. Other technical issues

Imbalance in the grid due to the loss of one phase should be detected and addressed. Feeding power to grid during the absence of one phase will further cause severe issues. Second issue which should be addressed is the injection of direct current to the grid. IEEE 1547-2003 4.3.1 standard restricts the injection of direct current to 0.5% of the full rated output current at point at which the renewable source is connected. Harmonics also would be injected to the grid while the power is injected to the grid. IEEE Std. 1547-2003 4.3.3 states the standards for the permitted limits of harmonics[31].

5.8. Communication infrastructure

As far as the communication network for the smart grid is considered, the greatest challenge is to find a cheapest communication path for the smart meter communication. In India, rural areas lack the network coverage, on the other side in urban areas, networks face heavy traffic congestion. Both situations are not desirable. For a GSM based communication channel the solution for this situation is to assign additional spectrum.

6. Discussion and conclusion

Readiness of smart grid infrastructure is a major concern in implementation of retail competition in India. In technical aspects a power system environment for the wide deployment of smart grid is being ready with various initiatives. Preference of WAMS over SCADA is an example. Successful completion of ISGTF initiated 14 smart grid pilot projects will benefit in gaining experience and it will support in overcoming the wide implementation challenges.

Renewable energy integration to the grid is a challenge in present scenario. Technological support like transmission infrastructure is a negative on one side and on the other side regulatory framework also makes situation worse. In electricity (amendment) bill 2014 there is no provision for trade of electricity from domestic renewable energy source to grid. This should be taken care by appropriate state regulatory commissions through their upcoming renewable energy policies. This will give a fair opportunity for the state utility to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligation targets. In conclusion, adoption of retail competition would be a herculean task when it comes to the nationwide implementation. Bringing a win-win situation among all the stakeholders makes the business structure successful. Comparing to the present structure, retail competition model will yield more efficient power transaction, as well as financial transaction. All stakeholders would be insisted to be more efficient and conservative to increase their profit.

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