Transmission Networks Issues Rules to Plan Communication Systems for Transmission Networks

The Ministry of Power (MoP) has formulated guidelines for planning communication systems for new and existing inter-state transmission systems (ISTS) to help define their categories and the corresponding approval procedure.

A communication system is a collection of individual communication networks, communication media, relay stations, tributary stations, terminal equipment capable of inter-connection and inter-operation to form an integrated communication backbone for the power sector. It also includes the existing communication system of the ISTS, satellite, and radio communication system, their auxiliary power supply system, etc., used to regulate the inter-state and intra-state transmission of electricity.

Considering the critical role of communication systems in ISTS, a separate guideline is drafted to help in efficient, coordinated, smooth, economic, and uniform planning.

Central Transmission Utility (CTUIL) will be the nodal agency for planning and coordination to develop communication systems for ISTS.

Communication packages under this policy are categorized as Category A and Category B.

Category A

Category A refers to communication systems directly associated with the new ISTS. It is also incidental due to implementing new ISTS elements like line-in line-out of existing lines on new or existing substations where optical ground wire or terminal equipment is not available on the existing mainline.

Approval procedure

The new ISTS package will include the requirement for linked communication systems. The combined proposal will be approved as per the directions in MoP’s order regarding the National Committee on Transmission re-constitution.

Further, communication requirements that are incidental due to implementing new ISTS elements will also be approved along with the transmission system package.

Category B

Category B will include the upgradation or modification of existing ISTS communication systems, including adding or modifying missing links, system strengthening, capacity upgradation, or adopting new communication technologies.

Approval procedure

Communication packages proposed by the Central Transmission Utility for upgrading or modifying the existing ISTS communication system, standalone projects, and new technologies will be forwarded to regional power committees (RPCs) for their views. RPCs will provide their views within 45 days of receipt of the proposal. The packages, along with the views of RPC, will be then approved by the National Committee on Transmission.

The communication systems will be planned by the Central Electricity Authority (Technical Standards for Communication System in Power System Operations) Regulations, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (Communication System for inter-State transmission of electricity) Regulations, Manual of Communication System Planning in Power System Operation published by Central Electricity Authority and other relevant guidelines and policies issued by Government of India for development of reliable communication system for the power system.

In December 2021, MoP approved 23 new ISTS projects to augment the seamless transfer of power from power surplus to power-deficit regions. The estimated cost of the projects is ₹158.93 billion (~$2.11 billion).