Shrirang Karandikar, chief executive officer, India Power Corporation, began his career as an engineer with the Maharashtra State Electricity Board and later worked with NTPC, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited, Torrent Power, Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited and Crompton Greaves. He has over three decades of experience in the distribution business and has played a major role in the Bhiwandi and Jalgaon distribution franchises in Maharashtra. He has expertise in bidding for the distribution business in franchise mode. At India Power, he has been instrumental in reducing transmission and distribution losses to around 2.5 per cent in the Asansol licence area, establishing grid connectivity and diversifying the consumer base by adding low tension consumers.
Karandikar believes that along with a focus on strengthening the transmission and generation segments, there is also a growing commitment to improve distribution. He feels that distribution has a key role in the power value chain and needs to be supported through investments.
Increasingly, utilities are adopting a consumer-centric attitude, setting up easily accessible call centres, customer facilitation centres and multiple payment gateways for ease of payment. To deal with defaulting consumers in isolated areas and reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses, Karandikar suggests that utilities, the local police and politicians should come together and be the change agents to “transform and reform” people in these pockets.
“One of the major trends in the sector is automation, which will be the key differentiator in the long run,” says Karandikar. He believes that technology use will help improve efficiency and ensure optimal utilisation of resources. In distribution, there should be stricter enforcement of open access and the public-private partnership model should be encouraged.
Looking back, Karandikar recalls his most memorable assignment as the Bhiwandi franchise project. As head of the project, he was responsible for creating the distribution unit, managing transformer failures, training new employees, ensuring reliable supply and building stakeholder confidence.
Karandikar has a master’s degree in engineering and a postgraduate diploma in project management. Moreover, he likes travelling, watching movies, reading poetry and books on history and maths. His family includes his wife Amiya, a homemaker, and their two daughters.