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EXCLUSIVE - Performance improvement, cost reduction and a smart grid pilot project at EGAT

OpenGov speaks to Waiboon Chanchio, Assistant Governor / Chief Information Officer at the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). Mr. Chanchio talks to us about the ten-year digital development plan. It outlines four key strategies:

  • Strengthen Core Business
  • Achieve High Performance Through Analytics
  • Create Future Workforce
  • Establish ICT Foundation

EGAT is a state enterprise under the Ministry of Energy. It is responsible for electric power generation and transmission for the whole country as well as bulk electric energy sales. EGAT is the largest power producer in Thailand, owning and operating power plants located in 45 sites across the country, with a total installed capacity of 15,548 MW, as of December 2015.

Could you tell us about the ICT strategy at the EGAT?                    We have just developed a new ten-year digital development plan for our organisation.  As you know our core business is power generation and transmission, Thailand government currently focuses on the digital economy which includes government’s transformation to digital. Our company has to transform to digital as well. We have cross-functional teams in EGAT to drive the move to digital for delivering more information and services to our customers and users through lean and digitize processes.

What is being done in terms of bringing digital to your core business?                    We have certain important initiatives in the digital development plan. We are trying to prioritize and decide which areas we need to tackle first.

There is an important project called the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) we have started working on. We estimate that it will take around 3 years to completely implement. We try to maximise the potential and value of our critical assets, which include power plants and transmission systems, along their lifetime.  

We will also use big data analytics, as part of the EAM project. In our power plants, massive quantities of data are received from a large number of sensors. It is as we call it “big data”.  We will use analytics tools on the data for our predictive maintenance routine plan.  It will help decrease maintenance expenditures, extend the longevity of our assets and reduce unplanned downtime.  With this solution, we would be able to efficiently monitor and manage the deployment, performance and maintenance of our assets.                    In the digital development plan, there is a mention of developing EGAT’s ICT professional workforce, to improve employee skills. What is being done in that regard?                    We increase budget for training our ICT staffs. They are required to be well-prepared for supporting and driving EGAT’s new business process through IT/OT integration.

Are you currently using any cloud-based solutions?                    At the present, we grow on a private cloud in our own virtualized environment. We have no public cloud-based infrastructure.                    Right now, are you in the planning stage for all these, or have you started implementing some of the projects?                    At the moment, we are in the planning stage. We have finished drafting the digital development plan. We are going to start implementing the initiatives.                    Do you need to collaborate with other agencies?                    Yes, we do. We continuously collaborate with the Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) (Public Organization) to work on cybersecurity.                    One of the initiatives in the digital development plan is to incorporate security-by-design in our projects.

So how will the existing systems and infrastructure fit into the security by design initiative?                    We have to develop, review and test them thoroughly. People, process, technology and now, security – we comply with the standards and laws of Thailand with regard to cybersecurity.

Along with development, we have to review existing infrastructure, test it deeply to find security vulnerabilities and fix them.

In terms of People, they are the most important element. They need to be professionally trained and developed. Though you have the latest and best new technologies, failure of systems can be occurred at any time if people are not careful enough.

Is there anything being done by EGAT in the Smart Thailand Plan?                    We have a Master Plan for Smart Grid (SG) Development (2015 – 2036). The objectives are to enhance energy security, improve productivity and services through ICT application and move towards a more sustainable, low carbon economy, with greater use of renewable resources.

One of the pilot projects we would like to mention here is Smart Grid in the Mae Hong Son Province. It comprises 4 components which are Smart energy, Smart system, Smart city and Smart learning.

BEMS- Building energy management systems, EMS - Energy Management Systems

What is your vision about the use of ICT at EGAT?                    

By using the converged ICT solution, we can enhance EGAT’s competitiveness in terms of business performance, productivity and profitability. 

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