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The research will mainly focus on the use of Geographic Information System in management of Electricity Distribution Facilities. As traditional management system is manual and requires a lot of efforts while searching previous records, which is very time consuming. So, a new management system should be developed. In Pakistan, the main drawbacks of the distribution system are high losses due to poor maintenance of the installed facilities, lack of proper planned network, lack of monitoring of our assets and manual updating of consumer records. Using GIS, distribution network (i.e. HT/LT system and Transformers) of some particular area can be digitally mapped and geo-referenced on a satellite image. The integration of geographically referenced database, analytical tools and GIS will allow the system to be designed more economically resulting in more efficient power distribution systems. Additional benefits such as improved material management, inventory control, getting consumer records more easily, preventive maintenance and better system performance can be accomplished in a systematic and cost-effective manner. After maintaining all databases and records relevant to a particular location, I'll create my own management software in Visual Basic 6.0 for making power distribution utility user-friendly for our customers.
Electricity is basically the flow of electric current. This involves first of all, generation of power, then its transmission and finally distribution of the electric power to consumers. Power utility is very essential for smooth functioning & development of society. It, not only, supports the economy, but also, supports the well-being of individuals. For a country to obtain its managerial objectives and sustain its growth, efficient functioning of power utility requires supreme importance .
In recent times, Pakistan faced the worst energy crisis of its history. The Minister (Water & Power) promised to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the nation by 31st December 2009. It was noted that although WAPDA has raised electricity generation by installing some rental power projects in order to keep up the promise. Yet, unpredictable power supply and outages are the main problems confronting the nation today.
In this context, besides making many efforts towards efficient power generation, the subsequent transmission and distribution of the generated power is not being overlooked. Without appropriate record keeping and observance of the transmission and distribution system, efficient functioning of the generated power is not being achieved . Emengini noted, "Knowledge about physical assets of the enterprise is necessary to make strategic and operation decisions" . According to Pickering, "Any organization that expects to run an efficient day-to-day operation and to manage and develop its services effectively must know what asset it has, where they are, their condition, how they are performing, and how much it costs to provide the service" . So, to take sensible decisions essential to the operations, management and growth of distribution facilities, information should be collected and analysed to its full extent, which contribute not only in efficient services, but also in the operation and maintenance of assets, and in sensible planning of extensions and new works .
Geographic Information Systems has the facility mapping complete HT/LT network, customer supply points and transformers with latitude and longitudes overlaid on satellite image . These map representations contain a lot of information stored in layers. For example, the first layer can correspond to the HT/LT network coverage. The second layer can highlight the land background containing roads, landmarks, buildings, rivers and railway crossings etc. The next layer can have information on the equipment i.e. poles, conductors, transformers etc. Most of the electrical equipment has a geographical location and its full benefit can only be acquired if the work is done in the geographical context. For example, if we want to add a new electricity connection in the system, it must be known that no one will be affected from this addition. GIS in combination with system analysis tools assists to do just this . GIS models the utility infrastructure. It captures the inventory of assets, their location, their condition and relationships of asset to each other and to their surroundings . Benefits of GIS generally fall into five categories:
Greater efficiency resulting in cost savings
Better decision making
Better geographic information recordkeeping
Databases play a vital role in operation of planning, where analysis programs form a part of the system with the help of database management system that can store, retrieve, and modify various data of distribution systems . The thing that differentiate an electrical utility information system from another information system - such as those used in banking, stock control, or payroll systems - is needed to record geographical information in the database. The GIS database contains both map data (spatial data depicting location of geographical objects) and attribute data (non-spatial data describing physical characteristics of each object). During GIS analysis, map data is associated with situation attribute data for each object mapped. GIS software can be used for analysis, as desired. GIS can also be linked with GPS to help getting information about utility facilities, which eliminate the requirement of sending a surveying crew to locate utility equipments and then transfer it on the maps .
Once databases are maintained, these can be used for analysis and modeling of power distribution network. GIS enables this data to be extracted, combined in new ways, and displayed as desired by the user. Analysis can lead to predictive tools for hazards, such as fault monitoring and their rectification in a short interval of time. "A well-designed GIS has the capability of providing quick and easy access to large volumes of data. It can select information by area or by theme to merge one data set with another, to analyze spatial characteristics of data, to search for particular features, to update quickly and cheaply and assess alternatives" .
Data required for this study are :
The Administrative / Street Map
The Electricity Distribution Network Map
Attribute Data collected on the ground
Data on the end-users
The administrative/street map will be acquired from Google Earth or ArcGIS Explorer through satellite imagery. The HT/LT network map and some of the attribute data will be collected from Water & Power Development Authority (WAPDA). Using layers in GIS, all HT/LT network and transformers of a particular area will be digitally mapped and geo-referenced on a satellite image. A spatial database consisting of information for every electricity consumer will be created, which can be further used for analysis of distribution network and modeling of extensions and new works.
A number of application software packages will be used for data processing. Such packages include: ArcInfo 9.2, ArcView 3.3, ArcGIS Explorer and some other can also be used for GIS overlay operation and analysis of spatial databases . Then Visual Basic will be used to create user-friendly power distribution management software.
Intended Benefits of the Developed System
Besides, using GIS system in fault management, network extensions and optimization, the following benefits can also be obtained:
In planning of routine maintenance.
In easy handling of customer's inquiries.
In network configuration.
In improved revenue management.
In right of way and compensation.
In easy and speedy retrieval of information.