GIS Use By Power Distribution Companies

GIS Contributor


Jayant Sinha writes about the application of GIS and geospatial technologies in the power distribution sector.  Sinha has over 24 years experience in the Power Sector and is an engineering graduate from BITS, Pilani. 

The Power Submission Companies (DISCOMs) constantly need to update their client information and the corresponding electric program features. The client data source has to be listed and display the relevant linkages with the Submission Transformer (DT), Bird birdfeeder and Substation. All the essential features of the client (Consumer ID, Department Value, Assistance Relationship Variety, Deal with, Gauge information, Network information, Contact information, etc.) need to be managed in the data source. Information of the customer’s program connection is also managed in the data source.  The client data source is mapped with program or resources data source for defining the customer’s electric connection.

GIS can be utilized to maintain client data source and graphically illustrating the customer’s electric connection on a electronic map, using a GUI interface. The whole electric program can be overlaid on a GIS platform map or satellite tv picture having sufficient resolution to recognize the program factor. Using the GIS program, when a particular DT is selected, then all the LT lines linked with that DT and customers linked with respective LT range can be displayed. The application generates a color visual map of the distribution program with the service for zooming, resizing and scrolling.

Prerequisites of GIS program development

It is essential to emphasize that door-to-door GPS study allows not only in geo-referencing and electronically applying the electric customers on a GIS map, but also recognize the source from where power is provided. Each client is allotted an alphanumerical code that would exclusively recognize the Department, Community, Substation, Bird birdfeeder, Fill category and eventually the Submission Transformer to which the client is linked. The purpose of GIS program is to catalog all the customers and classify the complete client data source with regard to their exclusive electric address.
This exercise also allows the distribution application in discovering unwanted relationships, fake (ledgerized but non-existent) relationships or relationships that are available, but not ledgerized.  Thus, the GIS applying and listing of customers allows in determining the factual place of the electric relationships on the ground.Another key requirement of a effective GIS execution is the seamless integration of spatial information with other application program directories viz. Customer Information System, AM/ FM, Utility Payments, Problems Contact Management, etc. The GIS program must stitching together other application programs on a common fabric for cross-application mobility of information.

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Key features of GIS program in Power Utility

GIS program covers the whole gamut of Power Utility functions. Some of the key features of GIS program allow management and tracking of Utility area resources, Operations management and Work management as enumerated below:
Asset Management

  • Spatial Network Data Management
  • Resource specifications Mapping
  • View/Query/Analysis
  • Network Mapping
  • Operations Management
  • Outage Management System
  • Resource Management
Mobile Workforce Management
  • Customer Information Management
  • Single Line Diagrams

Work Management

  • Network Design/ Strategy Layout
  • Network Laying/ reconfiguration
  • Cost Estimate preparation
  • As-Built Field Updates
  • Fill preparing and forecasting

4-step Digitization Process

The digitization of electric program resources, client listing and program applying is a 4-step procedure, as explained below:

1. GPS study of electric customers and program assets

  • Door-to-door study, determining all customers and their service connections
  • Preparation of GIS platform map overlaid on the satellite tv imagery

2. Digitization of electric program resources (33 KV Substation, 11 KV Birdfeeders, DTs  and electric poles)

  • Use of differential GPS to establish geo-coordinates with acceptable precision
  • Establishing their electric experience of regards to the Post, DT, Bird birdfeeder, Substation
  • Matching the study information with the utility’s ledgerized commercial records

3. GIS applying, listing and codification of electric customers and program resources with described electric relationships

  • Collecting and upgrading information for every client with regard to DT, including information viz. condition of the meter, load kind, approved load, connection status, phase information, etc.
  • Identifying fake relationships, i.e. those that exist in the ledger but physically non-existent

4. Interoperability and information mobility among GIS and other application programs (Fig. 2)

  • Customer Information System
  • Asset Management/ Facility Management
  • Trouble Contact Management System
  • Utility Payments and Power Accounting System
  • Load Circulation and Fill Growth studies

GIS Applications in Power Distribution

Availability of precise GIS-based distribution program map displaying the geo- harmonizes and program configuration is an essential precondition for research, preparing, optimization and cargo flow research. Using GIS program, all program resources (HT/ LT Birdfeeders, DTs, Poles) can be listed with regard to a well-defined alpha-numeric code, which exclusively recognizes the particular program factor (Fig. 3). The programming is depending on a structured pattern which allows the placement of new components into the program. This programming also helps quick sorting and applying of the program factor on the GIS map.

The GIS program is GUI-based and helps on-line question with a visual display of program section, displaying the particular program factor and also the corresponding program information on the pointer tool-tip. The GIS program also displays the place of all customers, their electric connection and associated technical factors, on question.

When integrated with the Customer Information System (CIS), it provides compete information of the client on the basis of the exclusive recognition code – the Consumer Index Variety (CIN). The CIN in turn recognizes the DT, Bird birdfeeder and Substation through which the client is provided power.  This information is of great help in Power Review, Problems Contact Management, Resource Management, Fill Management, Network Planning and research.

Checklist for effective GIS implementation

Proper GPS study and creation of an precise electronic platform map for the distribution program are essential conditions for effective GIS project execution. GPS study requires a GPS Base Place at a pre-determined place, aided by adequate variety of GPS Rovers/ Devices. Surveyors walk along the HT and LT birdfeeder with a GPS Rover/ Receiver and capture the spatial place of the Post, DT, Bird birdfeeder and Sub-station and heavy customers.  GPS Base Place and Rovers provide the desired precision after differential modification.
The attribute information of the distribution program (DT and Conductors) is also collected in the procedure, such conductor make, size and kind, DT make, kind, impedance and capacity, etc. Differential modification has to be performed on the spatial information thus taken.

The electronic platform map must display the essential attractions like Roads, Rivers etc. which is necessary for easier recognition of program resources and plan new distribution program.  For better creation, the vector map of the program can be overlaid on the platform map or even the satellite tv picture.

The permission and longitude (spatial data) of essential attractions or control points must also be taken using the GPS instrument. The GIS program must be able to stitching together contiguous maps sections on the same scale into a ongoing mosaic.


GIS provides a variety of solutions encompassing the whole company value chain in the ability distribution sector – from setting up distribution program and cargo management to client information, resources management, billing and client services. However, the connections between GIS and other application programs should be well-defined.

The GIS program must be designed to include easily with other application company programs. Continuous updation and monitoring of information is critical in any GIS program. Therefore, for any GIS program, you should  have in-built procedure control checks, audit trail and exception reporting plan ensure reliability and precision of information.

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