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CESC develops automatic remote surveillance and prevention system to tackle power theft

The company has deployed the software system in some of the theft prone pockets of the Calcutta licence area and has reported a reduction in losses

Sambit Saha Calcutta Published 16.02.24, 07:29 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File Photo

CESC has developed an automatic remote surveillance and theft prevention system to tackle power pilferage in areas prone to it.

The company has deployed the software system in some of the theft prone pockets of the Calcutta licence area and has reported a reduction in losses.


The power distributor has already patented the technology, which can be used by any power utility as a ‘platform as software’ (PAS) model.

It is one of the five patents CESC has bagged that are aimed at reducing T&D losses, improving the health of the transmission and distribution network and thereby providing good quality power to consumers.

The company is hoping to monetise the patents, accorded by the Patent Office of the government of India for 20 years, and generate non-tariff revenue from sale of softwares and hardwares for which it has received the patents, Debasis Banerjee, managing director (distribution) of CESC Ltd, said.

The softwares — automatic remote surveillance cum theft prevention system (ARSTPS) and an industrial internet of things (IIoT) designed to alert preventive maintenance of transformers and switch gears — are OEM agnostic and hence, they can be deployed in any network irrespective of the make of the instruments.

The ARSTPS has been deployed in over 6,000 smart meters in Calcutta already and it may be rolled out to other distribution licences of CESC across the country.

“Our losses are quite low but in some pockets in Calcutta losses are higher. Our losses have come down significantly in those areas,” Banerjee said.

ARSTPS, which cannot be used in analog meters, takes advantage of the tonnes of data smart meters send wirelessly to the server.

The architecture is built in a way a number of smart meters in an area report to a ‘mother meter’. Whenever there is a theft in any of the individual smart meters which are connected to a mother meter, power supply stops.

Consequently, it creates a social pressure on the consumer who resorts to theft as he/she becomes responsible for power supply disconnection to all linked to a ‘mother’ meter.

“Moreover, we can pinpoint where the theft is happening and initiate action and reduce losses,” Banerjee said.

The system can potentially improve return on investment of using smart meters in those pockets significantly, the company believes. Given that 25 crore smart meters are to be installed in the country, CESC hopes the software can find wide application given that it can be used by any make of the smart meter.

Similarly, the software to monitor the health of transformers and switchgears can be used irrespective of their make.

“By remotely capturing and monitoring huge volumes of data in high frequency and analysing them, the software can predict if some equipment is due for renewal,” Banerjee explained.

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