Bidgely has exhibited its expertise in empowering both electric and gas utility companies in North America, EU, and APAC markets. How are you progressing in India?
Bidgely helps global electric and gas utilities to gain deep energy insights based on patented Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) data analytics and use these insights for consumers and grid management. Our solutions empower more than 30 million homes and 40+ utilities in these geographies.
India is a very important market for Bidgely since our roots are here! We have closely followed the Indian power sector over the last few decades – from the time when we were a significantly power deficient country to now when we have surplus power. But energy theft has been and still is one of the biggest challenges of the Indian power sector – estimates are that the annual losses due to electricity theft alone would be in the range of $8-10 billion dollars!
The Govt of India has been taking various measures to improve the situation for the distribution companies, and the 250 million smart meter implementation program initiative is a welcome step to mitigate this challenge. We know that the power distribution companies want to provide its customers with the best of the services, but the financial condition prevents any value added service to the end-consumer. Therefore, we had been working on developing a data science driven AI/ML energy analytics solution which can help distribution companies to plug the revenue leakage. In parallel, we would be glad to help the distribution companies use the power of data to do more for the consumers and the grid.
What is the actual technology that powers your energy theft solution?
We all have now heard the saying that ‘data is the new oil!’ At Bidgely, we started focusing on energy data more than a decade back. Both smart meters and electronic meters have the capability to generate and capture data at 15 or 30 minute intervals – primary difference being that a smart meter can communicate with the utility systems and transmit the data there, while an electronic meter stores the data at the device level only. At the core, Bidgely’s patented algorithms process this interval data for each consumer to break it down into appliance level consumption (without hardware) and generate personalized insights. Therefore, we are able to analyse every meter and detect consumption pattern anomalies which are almost impossible to detect by conventional analytics.
If I focus back on the consumer, since our solution can “see” which appliances are being used, how much are they consuming and at what time they are used, we can help the consumers to track and optimize consumption in a more environmentally friendly, sustainable, and cost-effective manner.
What are the challenges you have faced in penetrating the India market?
While India is considered to be one of the major technology hubs, ironically, the acceptance of a new technology has been generally slow. In addition, with India being a very cost-sensitive market, along with a natural resistance to change, it was even more important for us to truly exhibit our capabilities to help the distribution companies as well as the consumer mitigate cost. Therefore, our data science team worked intensively with a few Indian distribution companies so that there is no ‘geographical’ bias in evaluating our solution.
Keeping all this in mind, and the fact that Bidgely provides data analytics through a ‘no-additional-hardware’ solution, I believe that we have developed a solution which will pay for itself through the benefits achieved. It’s almost like an investment with significant annuity returns!
On August 23rd, we announced our synergy with the Ministry of Power, Govt of India, in solving India’s massive power theft crisis. Bidgely has been selected in Powerthon by REC Ltd, in collaboration with SINE incubation lab of IIT Bombay as the only solution provider for energy theft detection in support of the national Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS) to reduce losses across India up to 15 percent by 2025. We also collaborated with the World Bank to conduct theft detection analytics for a discom in central India. This is also going to be a massive step in contributing to our PM’s vision of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
What is the role of the India engineering center in creating your solutions, especially the latest theft detection offering?
I am very proud of the fact that our theft detection solution is truly a ‘Make-in-India’ initiative. Our Bangalore engineering center is the epicenter of all our global innovations for the electric utilities. This center houses around 200 people, with some of the brightest minds and specific electrical domain expertise. For the theft detection solution, we leverage consumption data as well and voltage and spike event data.
Our AI and ML competencies allow us to process big data, identify trends and unlock actionable insights. Together with unparalleled data security, privacy and compliance, the team in Bangalore is truly helping to drive a revolution in the Indian power sector, after having exhibited its expertise around the world.