Custom app helps linemen speedily find and repair faults in Khammam
Kilaru Nageswara Rao is a line inspector with the Northern Power Distribution Company of Telangana. He has spent 20 years inspecting electricity lines, and knows the job, literally, from the ground up to the top of the 25- to 35-foot poles on which electricity wires rest.
A few years ago, Mr. Rao devised a low-cost tool — footwear in a metal frame that holds onto the poles — to help line men climb them easily and safely.
From hardware, he has now put his creativity to work using digital tools. He recently developed a prototype of mobile app he calls Google Electrical Map.
Khammam has 10 electricity sub-stations, 29 feeders, 1150 Distribution Transformers, and 10,000 electricity poles; using Google’s map-making tool, Mr. Rao plotted and colour-code them all.
Kilaru Nageswara Rao climbs an electricity pole using an improvised device.
The app allows field staff to swiftly locate faults and reach them quickly, so that the town’s 55,000 consumers don’t suffer long when things go wrong.
The app has many uses, he says; for instance, assessing loads, minimising power interruption and line losses, and preventing accidents during breakdown services. He plans to upgrade the app to help field staff in other areas harness its benefits too.
In March, Mr. Rao and his app basked in the limelight at the Rural Innovators and Startup Conclave in Hyderabad in March this year, and then at the Innovation Festival 2017 in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh.
“I have experienced myself the challenges of climbing tall electricity polls, working on them close to the electricity lines and locating the faulty lines in the vast power distribution network,” he says.
“This has prompted me to find tangible solutions to the recurring challenges.”