AP-Transco is gearing up to set up unmanned substations (132KV & 220KV) and upgrade the existing ones to automated stations wherever possible, in a phased manner starting with Vizianagaram district on a pilot basis, for which a scheme has already been prepared.
The main aim of the project is to perform all operational activities (monitoring and control) from a common control centre, according to official sources.
The project has been approved by the CMD of AP-Transco and a circular in this regard was sent to all the chief engineers concerned with an instruction to take necessary action.
A Substation Automation System (SAS) core team at the AP-Transco headquarters is tasked with spearheading the initiative.
While steps are being taken by the transmission utility for implementing the project, employees are opposing it on technical as well as some other grounds.
An office-bearer of APSEB Engineers’ Association told The Hindu that no State Transco has such unmanned substations and that only the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited is operating new unmanned substations at 400 KV and 765 KV levels where problems like tripping are less.
He observed that unmanned substations require trained personnel and automation will result in up to 16 outsourced employees losing their jobs.
Besides, there will be financial implications for the utilities which are struggling with shoe-string budgets and operational inefficiencies which are partly due to certain extraneous factors.
Funding of the automation project is, therefore, to be duly taken into account while automation is expected to bring down the maintenance costs appreciably.
It is pertinent to mention here that Fuji Electric of Japan had ventured to set up a Smart Grid project in Amaravati more than five years ago but it failed to make any headway for various reasons.