Interview of the Month

Interview of the Month

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52 year old S.N. Verma is the Chairman of Jharkhand State Electricity Board. He is credited with unique capability of reducing Transmission-Loss and Recovery of Arrears. He adopted a unique method to check the Revenue-Loss and evolved a system under which he made even Junior Engineers accountable for the Public Grievances.

Techno-Managerial professional with excellent judgment, strong values and pragmatic decision making, track record of successful execution of initiatives undertaken with strategic, financial, operational and people responsibilities. Strong analytical skills backed by ability to access technical & business situations and apply management principles in commonsensical way.

After obtaining Engineering Degree, S.N. Verma joined Power Sector and handled various Hydro-Power Projects from concept to commissioning. A native of Jharkhand, he was picked up to head State Electricity Board expecting from him immediate corrective measures in the power generation and distribution in the State. His choice was vindicated by the statistical figures which shows that he brought down the Transmission-Loss and increased Revenue as well as Recovery of old dues from Industrial Houses either by persuasion or invoking provisions of the Central Electricity Act.

His performance as the Chairman of the State Electricity Board is unique, in turning around through innovative measures for improving the work culture within the Board and focusing on the grievances of the Power Consumers (both Household and Industrial). His model of managing a State Electricity Board has potential to be replicated elsewhere. This made us to select him for the Interview of the Month.

Power for all in Jharkhand by March 2013

What is the total power capacity of your state?

The total power capacity of our State are as follows:
The total power capacity of Jharkhand

Can you give us the break-up of consumers like industrial, domestic and agricultural?

Yes. We have clear break-up of consumers with us. It is as such:
Power consumption - break-up of consumers

Since your state has a large tribal population, how far have you provided electrical connections in tribal areas?

We have a target of 13,764 tribal villages for electrification and I am pleased to inform you that we have achieved around 90% up to August 2012. All the 21 districts of Jharkhand, having tribal population, have been electrified. Some of these districts have got 100% electrification.

What is the progress of Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana?

In RGGVY Project as per survey, 18,724 no. of villages has to be covered for electrification up to 31.12.2012. We have electrified 94.2% of them up to August 2012.

Have you fulfilled the target? If not, what are the reasons for shortage?

We have to achieve the target of electrification up to 31.12.2012 as per Regulatory Commission’s directions. Work is in progress and hopefully we will achieve the target within scheduled time.

How many power plants are working under you ?

Two power plants; Patratu Thermal and Sikidiri Hydel Power Stations.

Do you draw power from other states ? If yes, how much?

No. The JSEB do not draw power from other states but supplies power to its consumers from our own generation, allocation from Central Sector & DVC.

How do you maintain balance between transmission and distribution?

Whereas the transmission lines in the state at present are inadequate in Palamu, Daltonganj and the Santhal-Pargana Area, the distribution network is adequate enough to cater to the existing demands. The transmission network is likely to be completed in another 20 months as the Board has entered into an agreement with PGCIL as consultant for construction of transmission lines for worth Rs. 1,310 Crore. With the construction of these transmission lines, the entire state will be getting round the clock power as the distribution system are also under augmentation to meet the future demand as well.

What is the quantum of loss?

The T&D losses are 32% and AT&C losses are 35%.

What is the backlog of arrears?

The backlog of arrears is Rs. 3,500 Crore which is commencing from the then BSEB.

How much revenue is being generated by your board?

Revenue realization is on increasing trends with Rs.144 Crore in FY 2010-11 to Rs.210 Crore in 2011-12, and we have a target of Rs.250 Crore in 2012-13.

Can you spell out difficulties faced by you in managing the affairs of JSEB since taking over and what has been your experience in managing them, with specific reference to the work culture of the board?

With a 28 years of experience in working under tough terrain, I was confident that things can be brought back on track with a positive attitude, hard work & applying motivating forces amongst the people of the Organization. With this commitment in mind, I stepped in to JSEB as its Chief. Of course, the things were tough. I felt the officers and staff are hard-working and energetic, only I had to channelize these forces towards a committed progress with positive attitude. For that, I myself had to prove as a reference point for them and that I did and doing continuously. Keeping work as a target and note the time, I continued to sit in the office from 10 AM to 9 PM every day and tried to listen to the grievances of consumers and tried to resolve them immediately. I not only brought a satisfaction level amongst the consumers but also to our officers, who have started working in the changed work-culture with a positive attitude.

How big is the problem of power thefts in your area?

It cannot be denied that the pilferage of power has been completely ceased, but the serious efforts have been made to put a curb on theft of energy by way of surprise checking, continuous raids etc. The AT&C losses have been dropped from 46% to 38%. The efforts are still on to minimize the losses further every year and achieve the standard AT&C losses of 15.5% in time to come.

What are the measures initiated by you to check it?

For this, a centralized Remote Metering Cell has been installed at the Headquarters to monitor HT consumers and for all LTIS consumers over 40HP load throughout the day. Each and every big installations are being viewed continuously in terms of their power consumption through load-graph for which a dedicated team of officers is on the job.

You have been providing power connections in remote tribal areas. How do you manage maintenance of your equipment and what method do you adopt for bill collection?

The JSEB has floated tender for Rural franchise. The selected franchise will collect the revenue as per the rate provide by JSERC, from each rural consumers and deposit the same to the Board. The franchise will maintain the lines and transformers to ensure smooth power supply in the remote tribal areas.

What is the situation of default payment in these areas?

Of course, the collection is not up to the mark being collection centres at urban places. With this point of view, the rural franchise are being selected.

What are your suggestions for maintaining uninterrupted power supply?

Uninterrupted power supply, if mean 24×7 power supply cannot be maintained uninterruptedly. In view of the fact, the flying birds if sit on the overhead line with extended wings causes short-circuits and the power interrupts immediately. Likewise, many unseen/ unpredictable factors become the cause of interruption in power supply. Bearing these factors, the JSEB is poised to make an uninterrupted power supply to entire state of Jharkhand. Starting from Ranchi, the capital city of the state. For this, the following steps are being taken:

HT and LT lines are being strengthened wherever required.
Plan to change the existing LT line by AB cables
Replacement of rotten wooden poles in LT lines wherever it is till existing.
Distribution transformers have been put on a regular check by the field officers and ensure corrective measures immediately.
Extension of earthing systems.
Lessening of LT lines span
Making AB switches operative wherever it is non-functional

Have you taken any initiative to engage the community – social groups in improving power distribution and any other activity of the board? If so, what has been the experience?

Yes. The socio-friendly environment has been developed. The JSEB very recently started a business group continuing with officers from the Board and the selected membes are resolved during the meeting itself. The consumers of Jharkhand have now started feeling that the JSEB is their business partner. However, the social group, as such has not so far been selected as most of the problems are being dealt by the Business group itself.

How do you compare the role of private players vis-a-vis state electricity apparatus in power sector?

There is no doubt that the upkeep of lines and equipment by the private players are in better condition than that of State Electricity Board, The main reason being the fact that the SEBs are working since last 55 years whereas the private players have newly been inducted to this sector. However, all efforts are being made to maintain the line and equipment so that it can work quite efficiently.

Any other information, you would like to share with us?

The growth & development will definitely come through the continuous quality power, if power is there, Industries would be there, if Industries are there, Rojgar would be there, & finally the Khushiyali (Happiness) would be there. All out efforts are put to ground for development of power in Jharkhand.

About the author

CSR VISION is India’s ( probably world’s ) first monthly magazine in print devoted to CSR and Sustainable Development for bringing together all stakeholders of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT at a global and local levels and act as a platform for promoting strategic CSR and sustainable development practices through dissemination of information and knowledge.