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KPTCL: Focus on network expansion and loss reduction [free access]

July 9, 2014

Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) is one of the largest transmission utilities in India. It has the fourth largest network in the country, after Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The utility has also been consistently recording system availability levels of over 99.8 per cent. Moreover, KPTCL is the frontrunner in the IT implementation segment having set up the largest supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network in the country. In fact, the utility has received interest from the Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Limited for replicating its SCADA model in their states. In addition to SCADA, KPTCL has the largest individually owned very small aperture terminal (VSAT) network and has set up a disaster recovery hub for its master control centre.

 

KPTCL was formed in 1999 with the unbundling of the Karnataka Electricity Board and was made responsible for the transmission and distribution functions. However, since 2002, the company has been responsible solely for the development and monitoring of the transmission network in the state, after its distribution functions were hived off.

 

Existing infrastructure

As of March 2014, KPTCL’s transmission network comprised 1,025 substations and a line length of 32,470 circuit km at the 66 kV and above voltage levels. The majority of KPTCL’s line length is at the 220 kV or lower voltage levels, with less than 9 per cent of lines at the 400 kV level. The interstate 400 kV lines are owned and maintained by the central transmission utility, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID). The company’s line length grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.91 per cent between 2009-10 and 2013-14. During 2013-14, KPTCL added around 608 circuit km of transmission lines and 26 substations to its network at all voltage levels, excluding 400 kV.

 

Of KPTCL’s substations, more than 90 per cent are at the 110 kV and below levels. The state utility owns four substations at the 400 kV level. Another eight 400 kV substations in the state are owned by POWERGRID. Over the last five years, most of the substation additions have been at the 110 kV level. The total number of substations has grown at a CAGR of 3.19 per cent.

 

Table 1: KPTCL’s transmission infrastructure (as of March 2014)

Voltage level

No. of substations

Length of transmission lines (circuit km)

400 kV

4

2,650.02

220 kV

93

10,052.24

110 kV

359

9,702.70

66 kV

569

10,065.79

Total

1,025

32,470.75

Source: KPTCL

 

Operational and financial performance

KPTCL’s transmission losses stood at 3.81 per cent in 2012-13. The company’s losses declined by 0.1 percentage point over 2011-12, while in 2008-09 and 2012-13, its losses declined from 4.3 per cent to 3.81 per cent. Moreover, KPTCL has been able to maintain its transmission availability at more than 99.8 per cent over the past three years.

 

KPTCL earned total revenues of INR20.6 billion during 2012-13, which was over 22 per cent higher than the INR16.86 billion recorded in 2011-12. The company’s total expenditure also increased from INR16.78 billion in 2011-12 to INR20.16 billion in 2012-13. In March 2013, its net profit stood at INR438.8 million, an increase of 400 per cent over the INR76.7 million registered in the previous year. KPTCL has recorded a consistent increase in its net profits during the past three years.

 

Table 2: KPTCL’s operational and financial performance


2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

Total income (INR million)

14,548.40

16,859.90

20,603.00

Total expenditure (INR million)

14,539.70

16,783.20

20,164.50

Net profit (INR million)

8.70

76.70

438.80

Debt-equity

3.51

3.34

2.91

Transmission availability (%)

99.83

99.81

99.82

Transmission losses (%)

3.82

3.91

3.81

Source: KPTCL

 

Initiatives undertaken

The state transmission utility has implemented several initiatives to enable efficient load and energy management. One of the key measures is the implementation of SCADA systems under the Integrated Extended SCADA Project. The project is being undertaken in two phases. The first phase, estimated to cost INR1.86 billion, covers 568 transmission substations, 6 area load despatch centres, 5 distribution control centres and 254 distribution substations. Phase II of the project covers the company’s remaining substations, both existing and upcoming. Thus, with the completion of Phase II, all the substations of KPTCL will be SCADA compatible. So far, KPTCL has completed the installation of SCADA systems in 925 major generating stations, substations and receiving stations of 66 kV, 220 kV and 400 kV. Further, out of 259 substations at the 33 kV level, it has covered 254 substations. KPTCL is undertaking remote operations at six substations in Bengaluru on a trial basis. The entire SCADA network is backed by the company’s VSAT network.

 

Karnataka is yet to ring-fence its state load despatch centre (SLDC), which currently works as one of the wings of KPTCL. The SLDC’s functions are carried out from a master control centre (MCC) located at Ananda Rao Circle in Bengaluru. The MCC provides real-time data from the stations, which helps in grid operations and effective load management. With severe shortages in the entire southern grid, the system has also helped the SLDC to effectively manage interstate drawals. To ensure efficient functioning and monitoring of the state’s transmission network, KPTCL has established area load despatch centres in six transmission zones—Bengaluru, Tumkur, Hassan, Mysore, Bagalkot and Gulbarga. In addition, independent load despatch centres have been set up at all five distribution utilities in the state for scheduling and monitoring loads.

 

KPTCL has also undertaken measures to ensure the efficient integration of the existing and upcoming renewable energy capacity in the state. While the existing grid-connected renewable capacity in Karnataka stands at 4,000 MW, an additional 2,000 MW has been cleared for integration with the transmission network in the next five years. KPTCL has proposed the setting up of three 400 kV substations exclusively for renewable energy at an estimated cost of INR7.5 billion. The utility has sought funds for the project under the Green Energy Corridors initiative. Under this initiative, it has also proposed to establish a separate renewable energy management system to monitor renewable energy in the state.

 

Future plans

Between 2014-15 and 2017-18, KPTCL plans to undertake capital works worth INR70 billion to increase its total line length by 4,744 circuit km and transformer capacity by 10,545 MVA. Of the total planned transmission line length, around 29 per cent will be added at the 110 kV level, 28 per cent at the 66 kV level, 25 per cent at the 220 kV level and the remaining at the 400 kV level. Of the planned transformer capacity addition, the majority will be at the 220 kV level, while the rest will be at the 400 kV, 110 kV and 66 kV levels.

 

Table 3: KPTCL’s future plans

Voltage level

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

Total

Transmission line plan (circuit km)

400 kV

95

800

895

220 kV

89

300

484

300

1,173

110 kV

514

350

243

250

1,357

66 kV

100

400

419

400

1,319

Total

703

1,145

1,146

1,750

4,744

Transformer capacity (MVA)

400 kV

2,000

2,000

220 kV

800

800

2,600

400

4,600

110 kV

460

400

420

500

1,780

66 kV

565

500

700

400

2,165

Total

1,825

3,700

3,720

1,300

10,545

Capital expenditure (INR billion)

14

14

14

14

56

Source: KPTCL

 

Challenges and the way forward

While KPTCL has planned several network expansion projects, one of the biggest challenges that it faces in the timely execution of these projects is right of way (RoW). To tackle RoW issues, the company is considering ex-gratia land compensation for transmission line corridors. Going forward, the IT initiatives being taken by the company as well as its ability to overcome the challenges will help in improving its performance.