Prayas has developed an innovative, technology driven approach to monitor supply quality provided by electricity companies. Through this initiative, supply quality in various urban and rural areas across the country can be easily viewed on the website watchyourpower.org.
The Electricity Supply Monitoring Initiative (ESMI) was selected as a finalist for the Google Impact Challenge, India, 2013 given to NGOs using technology for social impact, which provided an impetus for the initiative to expand.
Low voltage, frequent interruptions and load shedding is a concern for electricity consumers in India. This may require them to invest in alternative power sources and voltage stabilizers or suffer loss of productivity and inconvenience. Moreover reliable data about supply quality is often missing, which hampers consumers’ ability to hold distribution companies accountable.
Real-time, reliable data now available on watchyourpower.org, fills this crucial knowledge gap in empowering consumers. ESMI can be utilised to assess hours of power supply as well as perform comparative analysis of supply quality across different locations. At present, ESMI has been launched at 60 locations across 8 states including 5 mega cities, with a few hundred more locations to be covered in the coming months.
The Electricity Supply Monitor (ESM) is a state-of-art, internet of things (IoT) technology and is a plug-in device that combines a voltage recorder and a communication modem. It can be easily installed at any location in an ordinary power supply socket. The ESM records voltage every minute at its location and sends the data to a central server using a standard mobile data network.
Power sector actors, policy makers and regulatory commissions will benefit from this evidence-based feedback to improve effectiveness of various government programs and huge investments being made in the sector. The industrial and commercial consumers will also be better able to assess the quality of power in different regions which is a critical input for their operations. Overall, supply quality information available on watchyourpower.org will facilitate increasing accountability of power supply distributors and to improve the supply quality and fairness in distribution of electricity in the country. This information would also support research on linkages between electricity supply and peoples’ health and livelihoods.