Interview with Anil Sardana: “Managing growth and consolidation will remain our top priority”

“Managing growth and consolidation will remain our top priority”

India’s largest private power transmission player, Adani Transmission Limited (ATL) is on an expansion drive. In a landmark deal, ATL acquired Reliance Infrastructure’s Mumbai power business in December last year. In a recent interview, Anil Sardana, managing director and chief executive officer, ATL, spoke about the company’s performance so far, its growth plans, the challenges ahead and the outlook for the sector. Excerpts from the interview…

What has been ATL’s growth journey so far?

Given Adani Power’s strong presence in generation and associated transmission over the past decade, and the opportunities in the rapidly growing national grid, we decided to pursue transmission and distribution (T&D) opportunities with a distinct focus.

As on date, ATL has emerged as the largest private utility in transmission. It has successfully consolidated the assets acquired from GMR Maru and RInfra’s Western Region System

Strengthening Scheme assets. Within a short span of seven to eight years, more than 8,511 ckt. km of transmission lines and approximately 14,000 MVA of transformation capacity have been made operational. Besides, an additional 11 projects are under way. The recent acquisition of RInfra Mumbai’s integrated distribution, transmission and generation business will enable ATL to emerge as a significant T&D operator with the aspiration to partake in differentiated distribution reforms.

What are your top priorities for ATL in the next one to two years?

ATL aspires to be a significant contributor to the Government of India’s mission to achieve 24×7 power for all. Our prime focus will be on consumer services and 24×7 reliable power supply with benchmark SAIDI and SAIFI comparable with the best utilities across the globe.

Amidst the ongoing consolidation of the transmission business, one of the key priorities will be the integration of the Mumbai suburban distribution business over the next few quarters. With the acquisition of the Mumbai suburban network, ATL’s transmission network will reach around 12,000 ckt. km and its transformation capacity will increase to 19,300 MVA across the country, including high voltage direct current networks. Managing growth and consolidation will remain our top priority, ensuring long-term value creation for our stakeholders.

What are some of the significant projects in the pipeline?

Amongst the significant projects in the pipeline are Fatehgarh-Bhadla Transmission Limited, which has approximately 200 ckt. km of line length at the 765 kV voltage level, a 400 kV substation, and the recently won Ghatampur project worth about Rs 20 billion.

In addition, eight projects totalling a line length of 2,369 ckt. km and transformation capacity of 2,215 MVA, won through tariff-based competitive bidding, are also under execution.

What are some of the key issues and challenges for the company?

For transmission and large infrastructure projects, the critical issues and challenges are land acquisition, right of way and timely clearances. Dedicated teams have been addressing these issues through concerted efforts, remarkable project planning and strong project management capabilities. This has helped ATL in completing most of its projects ahead of time. It is also important that once the lines become operational, high availability of assets is ensured. ATL has been achieving close to 99.8 per cent network availability.

What is your outlook for the power sector and how do you see ATL’s role in it?

The Government of India’s focus on achieving Power for All has boosted capacity addition nationwide. According to a recent study, India ranks third among 40 countries in EY’s Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index.

An investment of approximately Rs 2,600 billion is envisaged by both the central and state governments for strengthening the transmission system during the next five years. In addition to this, the plan of 175,000 MW of renewable capacity addition by 2022 and its evacuation will provide more opportunities for growth.

Similarly, opportunities to reform last-mile delivery to customers and improve the distribution segment by means of technology and a digitalisation interface aimed at providing efficient and cost-effective services to end consumers is likely to give players like us tremendous opportunities in the times ahead.

We acknowledge the fact that consumer expectations from a young integrated company will be very high. In order to meet these expectations, we need to ensure that we have world-class processes and systems to serve our customers better than our competitors.