In an interview with Ashish Pandey of Zee Digital Convergence Limited, Praveer Sinha, CEO & Managing Director of Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL) discusses how the company that distributes electricity in North & North West parts of Delhi and serves a populace of 50 lakh is planning to modernize it operations. He also educates about the recent visit paid by the US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, at company's Smart Grid Lab, and company’s plans to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the consumers this summer.
Here are the edited excerpts:
Q1. How is TPDDL getting ready to embrace Smart Grid technology as part of modernization program of the power sector?
Praveer Sinha: When we talk about the Smart Grid technology, we also need to look at certain fundamental things which should be done in order to create foundation for the Smart Grid. We had set this roadmap for ourselves way back in 2005-06. Firstly, we need to make net worth that is very robust. Secondly, we need to do huge amount of automation that enables you to control equipments from a central place. This is known as the SCADA system.
Thereafter, you need to do a lot of work related to IT services including SAP. Having done that network, automation and SAP need to talk to each other. For this, we also did GIS Mapping for each of the equipments. That way we have put in place something called Outage Management System whereby system itself informs where the fault lies on a real-time basis. It even tells the consumers how much time it will take for the problem to get rectified. In Smart Grid technology, everything gets integrated with each other and communicates on a real-time basis.
In this technology, we have multiple sources of generation. In fact, consumer can also become a generator of power here. So, we call him ‘Prosumer’ since he is also producing power. Talking about the home area automation, consumers can get highly benefited through this technology. While sitting in the office, they can control electrical appliances installed in their homes. They can also decide as per Time of Day metering about the amount of power to be used. This provides them a control both on the cost of power and the grid peaking requirement. The implementation of this technology will take around 5 years, as it is a strenuous process.
Q2. Which are the agencies funding this project?
Praveer Sinha: Basically the funding for this is being done by us. Only for carrying out a pilot study we received support from USTDA.
Q3. The US ambassador to India, Richard Verma, paid a visit to your company last week. What was the purpose behind the visit?
Praveer Sinha: The US ambassador was very kind to support us on various initiatives. For the last 12 years agencies such as USTDA have supported us in several programs. We have been working very closely with them. This was a unique cooperation which was very successful. That is why the US ambassador was very keen to come and showcase how the US technologies have been used and agencies such as USTDA and USAID supported in improving the quality of service.
Q4. What are TDPPL’s AT&C losses at present?
Praveer Sinha: We are below 9 percent now. The losses have been brought down from 53 percent when Tata Power took over in 2002. This is a benchmark. I don’t think anyone in the field, with this type of consumer base and challenges, has been able to do it so quickly.
Q5. Do you think current tariffs are adequate or need hike?
Praveer Sinha: Tariff is a function of the input cost which is in turn dependent on the power purchase that we do, and also the transmission cost. We have taken a lot of steps to reduce the input cost. But tariff is determined by the regulator and not by us. It’s a balancing act that the regulator performs based on the expenditure of the company. If the input cost goes up, it’s reflected as power purchase adjustment. So, it’s dependent on those factors and not on what we want or what we don’t.
Q6. How is renewable energy the future of power sector? What is being done by TPDDL in this regard? What are your plans in the field of solar energy?
Praveer Sinha: Solar energy in cities like Delhi enjoys huge opportunities especially for the industrial and commercial consumers. Today, it makes immense sense for the high-end domestic consumers to go for solar energy use because its cost of generation is very less. We surely believe that the future will see a lot of power solutions based on solar energy, and we will surely support it.
Q7. What are your views on Ujjawal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY)? Can it bring out a major turnaround for the struggling discoms?
Praveer Sinha: Yes, the scheme is very sound and I don’t think anyone can come out with anything better than this. It’s for the States to reform themselves now.