GIS WEB-BASED SOLUTION FOR ECG ASSET TRACKING AND BILLING (A CASE STUDY AT ADENTAN MUNICIPALITY)

ABSTRACT
Today, the world is fast moving in the area of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). With the use of Spatial Technology and subsequent development of Web GlS evolving, the operations, services and management of several industries in the world over are flourishing.
Electricity as utility is inimical to the socio-economic development of any country. The generation, transmission and distribution of power electricity come with lots of challenges. This study aimed at using Spatial Technology to enhance ECG business. Adentan Municipality was used as a study area and data on user requirement was gathered.

Geomatic measurement techniques were employed in spatial data acquisition. The task of development of ECG-GlS Customer Information System was put into data acquisition, data processing, geo-database development and system design phases respectively. A user friendly ECG-GlS Customer Information System comprising of four modules, Customer Activity, Customer Database, Geo-database and System settings was developed and deployed. The system is centrally web based, dynamic and has the ability to track ECG customers’ information on billing with ease.


CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the study
Electricity as utility is of much value and potency in the life of mankind (Piepmeier 1995). The generation, transmission and distribution of Electricity on both commercial (industry) and domestic (household) levels is inimical to the socio-economic development and growth of any country and the world over (Bergasse 2013). The demand and supply of electricity comes with a cost element. The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) whose core mandate is to distribute Electricity is as well responsible to generate revenue to finance its services (ECG Annual Report 2010). One of the major challenges that affect the delivery of reliable supply of Electricity by ECG is their inability to mobilize revenue efficiently (ECG Annual Report 2012). The act of illegal connection, toppled with power theft is a huge burden that affects ECG revenue mobilization.

According to the International Energy Agency (2013), nations like; Russia, Brazil and South Africa will need huge investment for global electricity supply in terms of production to overtake in the world industry of oil between the duration of 2010-2035 in order to keep pace with the increasing demand.

Africa has vast energy resources, far above its own needs (Bergasse, 2013). However, Scott (2015), has revealed that majority of the population in Africa do not have any supply of electricity, and the power producers are unable to meet the high call for power.

GIS can be applied in spatial analysis to determine load of electricity on transmission lines to find out location feasibility, and study resource market dynamics in Africa (ESRI, 2005).

In a comparative analysis of two blocks within the African continent, the International Renewable Energy Agency (2012), have noted that almost all countries at the North of Africa are fully electrified but the rate of electricity distribution in sub-Saharan Africa is only 35% and much lower in the remote areas. Fabini et al. (2014), narrowed the argument by establishing that easiness and availability of electricity still remains uneven as it has been estimated that close to 550 million populace need electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. For about 48 countries in Africa, majority of the population have limited or no access to electricity at all and as a result, about 30 out of 48 countries experience daily blackouts (IRCA, 2012).

ESRI (2005), have outlined that, the Republic of South Africa was the seventh largest electric company in the world per its generation capacity and sales. In further explanation, South Africa’s electrical requirements provide its citizens with more power which is close to 50 percent of the electricity produced in Africa.

In Uganda, it has been established that the ever-growing demand for electricity has exceeded real consumption. This is due to limited supply which has exasperated the current load shedding that is imposed almost daily on urban consumers in Kampala and its environs where demand is deemed greatest (Kaijuka, 2006).

Many methods to reduce high demand predictions, originally used social science methods such as research, longitudinal studies and stated preferences for critical assessment and willingness to pay (Fabini et al., 2014).

ESRI (2010), has outlined GIS functions to aid in electricity conveyance from the source production to the final destination. In Ghana, the Volta River Authority (VRA) produce power as utility. Eskom is a company in South Africa which engages in the production and distribution of electricity in the country. Kaijuka (2006), has reiterated that Ghana’s Akosombo dam, is one of Africa’s largest hydropower plants and its contribution to the economy is very great. Similar in Uganda, the electric power supply system is hydro dominated which is nearly 100 times greater than any other source of power generation (Kaijuka, 2006). This ensures efficiency in electricity consumption.

This project is needed to assist administrators to establish effective policies and plans to enable them find out the possible alternative means in case of emergency (Brenner, 2014). The transmission and distribution are controlled by operations in these areas in order to meet the goal of making electricity accessible and affordable to all of Ghanaians by 2020 (Soumonni, 2013).

1.2 Problem Statement
The power sector in Ghana has been in difficulties in terms of production and distribution for a very long time. The high rate of increase of people has increased the consumption of electricity in the country. According to World Bank report of 2013, ECG had registered a down turn in revenue of US$ 16 million in 2011, US$ 44 million in 2012 and US$ 60 million in 2013. Due to the huge characterized falls in the revenue level, losses in the energy sector is great and also huge (Nawaz-ul-Huda et al., 2012). The re-occurrence of problems in the power sector are mostly seen in the distribution of electricity. These problems have led to economic depression crippling business men and women in the industry (Morimoto & Hope, 2004). Indeed, the major problem or challenge faced by ECG in their power distribution and supply are system losses. These systemic losses are due to commercial and technical losses. Commercial losses are fundamentally unlawful connections, metering challenges, problems in cost allocation as well as collection difficulties. Also, technical losses are mainly due equipment operating inadequacies, old and out of date gadgets.

All these problems can be attributed to lack of access maps of the area and up to date information on customers, assets and their locations. Considering the problems enumerated above, it therefore warrants for a study to be conducted to find a lasting solution to the menace.

1.3 Justification
Revenue collection rather seems to be a major challenge for ECG. A critical perusal of the ECG historical record, 2012 shows that system loss increased from 20.72% in 1996 to 26.49% in 1999 and decreased to 22.64% in 2000. It increased sharply from 22.64% in 2000 to 26.54% in 2004. In 2009 ECG incurred a system loss of 26.0% and decreased to 23.47 in 2012. These show that quite a little has been done to curtail the situation. The major causes of these system losses are illegal connections, metering problems, billing challenges, collection challenges, inadequate equipment capacity, and old and obsolete cables (Energy Commission, Ghana, 2013). This has shown in Ghana’s energy producing companies, including the Volta River Authority (VRA) and Independent Power Producers (IPPs). This project proposes the implementation of spatial technology to provide web application for ECG to track customers and assets to reduce system losses. Also, spatial technology in the form of a web based application will provide efficient billing and collection system or platform for revenue mobilization. This system will enable ECG the ability and ease for financial accuracy and growth.

1.4 Research Questions
To be to arrive at the objectives of the study, the underlisted research questions will be answered:

Which factors account for revenue loses to the Electricity Company of Ghana?

What are the impacts of these loses to the Electricity Company of Ghana?

How do ECG locate their assets such as; meters, substations, transformers and poles?

How do ECG track their customers?

By which mode do customers asses their bills?

How do ECG maintain their revenue stream?

1.5 Aim and Objectives
The aim of the study is to enhance ECG Business using GIS as a tool with the application of spatial technology. This spatial technology was developed via a web based platform for effective and efficient operation of ECG business in relation to revenue mobilization.

The objectives of the study are to:

Produce a web based application to help ECG locate and track their assets such as, meters, substations, transformers and poles with ease for routine maintenance.

Produce a web based application to help ECG locate and track customers and their bill information easily for efficient revenue mobilization.

1.6 Scope of the Study
Geographically, the scope of the study looks at the evaluation of the current ECG operating system at Adentan municipality in the Greater Accra region of the Republic of Ghana. But thematically, it seeks to develop a web based application for efficient and effective revenue mobilization.

1.7 Organization of the Thesis
This research is structured into six chapters. Chapter one touches on the background of the study, problem statement, aim and objectives of the study, scope of the study and the organization of the study.

Chapter two reviews literature about the organogram of ECG, their functions as well as their revenue mobilization strategies. The third chapter reviews literature about spatial and technical studies related to the research topic.

Chapter four outlines the methodology and conceptual design of the web based application, ethical considerations, shortfalls and assumptions of the study. Chapter five outlines analysis, discussion of findings and the web based application system design. Chapter six finally gives out the recommendations and conclusion on the research study.

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Item Type: Ghanaian Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 67 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: GH50  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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