Powering Transformation: How Low-Code enabled ecosystem are redefining India’s electricity sector.

The global electricity generation, transmission and distribution market is witnessing significant investments to transform the life of end customers. The efficient interplay of digital technologies is playing an enhanced role in delivering operational efficiency, cost savings and improved productivity owing to transformation of workplace.

In India, a crucial player in this landscape is the distribution companies (DISCOMs), which form the backbone of the country’s power sector. Their financial health is pivotal, as any instability here can ripple through the entire energy generation and transmission sectors. With India on a trajectory of robust economic growth, projected by the International Monetary Fund to achieve a 6.3% GDP growth in FY 2025, and the Central Electricity Authority predicting a surge in electricity demand, the need for innovative and effective solutions has never been more urgent.

The Context: India’s Power Sector Dynamics

India’s electricity sector faces multifaceted challenges, primarily revolving around the financial instability of DISCOMs. These entities, burdened by inefficiencies in tariff settings, delayed subsidy disbursements, and poorly targeted subsidies, have accrued a deficit of Rs 5,166 billion (US$62.6 billion) as of March 2021. The government’s response, including the implementation of Time of Day (ToD) tariffs and the rollout of smart prepaid meters, marks a progressive step towards enhancing operational efficiencies. However, these interventions scratch only the surface of the deep-rooted issues such as massive aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses and the urgent need for widespread modernization across the electricity value chain.

The Role of Private Participation and Its Advantages

Recent reforms have significantly encouraged private sector involvement in India’s electricity sector, especially within distribution. The proposed delicensing of the distribution segment under the Electricity (Amendment) Bill allows for multiple DISCOMs to operate within the same geographical area on a shared network. This change is designed to foster competition, enhance service quality, and ensure financial viability through more efficient operations and customer-focused services. Private companies, driven by profit motives, are poised to bring innovation, efficiency, and much-needed capital to DISCOMs. This can lead to reduced AT&C losses, better financial management, and cost-reflective tariff settings, potentially alleviating the government’s financial burden from continuously bailing out inefficient DISCOMs. Furthermore, the presence of multiple service providers can lead to improved customer service, innovative pricing models, and more reliable electricity supply, enhancing overall sector performance.

Introducing Low-Code as a Transformational Tool

As India’s power sector seeks to innovate and overcome longstanding challenges, low-code platforms emerge as a transformational tool that can accelerate the development and deployment of digital solutions. In fact, in recent years the taxonomy for low code has evolved and it’s current coinage does not do appropriate justice to full breadth of functionality which it provides. The high-performance low code platforms are extensively being used to build medium to complex mission critical applications, aligned to business objectives, in an accelerated fashion. Low-code technology simplifies the creation of complex applications through intuitive graphical interfaces and pre-built templates, which drastically reduces the need for traditional coding. This enables faster response to market changes and regulatory demands, making it an ideal choice for sectors like electricity that require agility and rapid innovation. Additionally, Low-code platforms enable the development of responsive and progressive web applications, bridging the gap between web and mobile applications by delivering roughly the same features simultaneously across both platforms. Furthermore, these platforms offer the flexibility to incorporate wider native functionalities as needed.

Cross Section of Use-cases for low code intervention

As mentioned in the earlier section, low code can assist customers in transforming the entire ecosystem in an accelerated time fashion. Though there would be some obvious limitations where low-code might not be able to make significant play but benefits outweighs limitations. Provided below are representative overview of use-cases where low-code enabled approach can play a significant role

  • Customer Self-Service Portals:

Build comprehensive portals for customers to view usage data, pay bills, and report issues, reducing reliance on call centers and enhancing customer satisfaction.

  • Smart Grid Analytics:

Develop applications that integrate with IoT devices to monitor grid performance, predict maintenance needs, and optimize energy distribution, all in real-time.

  • Compliance and Reporting Tools:

Quickly adapt to new regulations by developing systems that manage and report compliance data efficiently, helping DISCOMs stay ahead of regulatory changes.

  • Resource Management Systems:

Create dynamic scheduling tools for maintenance and repair crews, optimizing routes and resources for improved operational efficiency.

  • Outage Management Systems:

Deploy advanced systems that automatically detect outages, notify affected customers, and manage the restoration process to minimize downtime.

  • Demand Response Management:

Implement applications that manage and automate demand response programs, helping to balance load during peak times and reduce energy consumption.

  • Renewable Energy Integration:

Facilitate the integration of renewable energy sources into the grid with platforms that can manage and forecast the variability of renewable inputs.

  • Asset Management Applications:

Utilize low-code to build asset tracking systems that monitor the health and performance of critical infrastructure, scheduling preventive maintenance to avoid failures.

  • Field Service Mobile Apps:

Equip field technicians with mobile apps that provide access to work orders, navigation, and data entry capabilities, even offline, ensuring they can work effectively in any location.

  • Energy Audit Platforms:

Develop tools for conducting energy audits, tracking efficiency projects, and monitoring the results, helping customers and DISCOMs identify potential savings and improve energy usage.

Synergy between Aaseya and OutSystems: Tackling Challenges Head-On

Aaseya, a global leader in low-code digital transformation solutions has an ecosystem to address domain specific challenges. Aaseya believes in the application of appropriate mix of talent, process knowledge and experiential learnings of delivering complex implementations to tackle the challenges head on.

Aaseya has notable and growing OutSystems practice which has had delivered solutions to the customers across geographies across domains which also includes utilities. Additionally, Aaseya has also effectively leveraged the power of platform to build custom and proprietary accelerators which can transform user journey of any domain.  For the power sector too, Aaseya has specific accelerators which can be customized to provide value addition while undertaking transformation of customers’ entire ecosystem. One notable solution is the Aaseya Inspection Solution (AIS), which revolutionizes the traditional manual inspection processes.

AIS, a mobile-ready, AI-enabled, custom-built app, simplifies the inspection process and amplifies efficiency, ensuring that companies can adapt to rapidly changing regulations and quality standards. By using AI-driven “mentors” throughout the software development lifecycle, AIS offers best practices for application security, scalability, reliability, and extensibility, making it a critical tool for public sector organizations striving for improved regulatory compliance and streamlined operations.

Our experienced delivery governance framework has helped us optimize total cost of ownership for any customers by around 10-15% and realized improvement in overall cycle time for any implementation.

Conclusion

The collaboration between Aaseya and OutSystems is creating a robust framework for digital transformation in India’s electricity sector. By harnessing the potential of low-code platforms, this partnership is well-equipped to deliver innovative, efficient, and effective solutions that meet the dynamic needs of the modern energy landscape, driving significant advancements and setting new standards in service delivery and operational excellence.

References

  1. Delicensing Electricity Distribution in India: Prospects, Challenges, and Implications for Green Power Adoption (orfonline.org)
  2. Government drives power sector reforms with key financial initiatives | IEEFA

 

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Dipanshu Shekhar

Dipanshu Shekhar, with 17+ years in Management Consulting, Digital Transformation, Process Re-engineering, and Intelligent Automation, has held roles like Energy and Utilities consultant, Design Thinking Consultant, and Intelligent Automation Advisor. Since February 2024, he has led the OutSystems Practice at Aaseya, managing over 150 associates, including architects and developers.

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