Financial well-being vital for sustainable business

 “Demand for technology will pick only if there are structural changes in the sector that require new institutions to be created or there is some improvement in the financial health so that new capital investment can happen,” says, CN Raghupathi, Senior Vice President and Head, India Business Unit, Infosys
Power sector’s socio-economic challengesPower is a complex sector and there are several socio-economic challenges apart from the fundamental challenges of the sector. High Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) loss remains as the biggest challenge plaguing the sector. This directly impacts financial health of the distribution utilities and has cascading impact on the whole sector. State utilities have cumulative losses of around ` 3 lakh crore and debt of more than ` 4 lakh crore. In the generation sector, there is some progress on the coal supply front. However, C N Raghupathi, Senior Vice President and Head, India Business Unit, Infosys feels there is a lot be done to improve predictability and efficiency of the coal supply chain to meet the demand in the coming years. “Issues with gas pricing and availability also need attention to bring stalled or partly used capacity to main stream,” he adds.
Power transmission and overall gird security and stability also need to be augmented to improve power flow across the country and improve resilience of the grid. There is a plan to add 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. This will come from a mix of large and small scale sources that are intermittent in nature, and will create additional stress on the already stressed grid. Also, according to Raghupathi, structural changes are also essential to make power sector sustainable.
Need structural changes Infosys provides services to the utilities across generation, trading, transmission, system operation and distribution in India. While explaining the impact on the business and its sustainability, Raghupathi says, “Financial well-being of the sector is important for us to get sustainable business. Most of the investments, in the last few years, in information and operational technology have been funded by central government or multilateral agencies. Other lenders already have a huge exposure to the sector. So the demand for technology will pick only if there are structural changes in the sector that require new institutions to be created or there is some improvement in the financial health so that new capital investment can happen.”
Short-term measures Some immediate steps on financial side such as tariff hike and debt restructuring are needed to get the sector back on track, says Raghupathi. On the other hand, he adds, “Distribution utilities should also start using the state-of-the-art technology infrastructure which has been created through Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP) for loss reduction and improving internal efficiencies.”
Long-term measures In the long term, structural changes such as privatisation and franchisee should be explored. Distribution sector is in dire need of such interventions. “The Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014 can bring in significant reforms in the sector by segregating distribution and supply and creating a new set of companies and institutions. Though this would not be easy to implement but is a step in the right direction,” states Raghupathi.
Eyeing sustainable businessOver the last few years, Infosys has made significant investments in developing solutions for the Indian power sector. It develops solutions to improve grid security and reliability using latest big data and analytics technology. This solutions use data from Phasor Measurement Units (PMU) installed across the grid to predict grid disturbances and improve situational awareness. Transmission utilities are in process of installing PMUs across the grid so there should a solution in place by the time these devices are installed. Commenting on the developments that are happening at Infosys, Raghupathi says, “We have developed solutions for Load Dispatch Centres (LDCs) for scheduling, settlement and energy accounting. This can automate complete operations of LDCs and can significantly reduce turnaround time. We continue to invest in developing solution for demand, supply and price forecasting. We have also developed a solution for complete operation of distribution utility on a cloud platform. AMI and smart grids are other areas where we are developing solutions.”
On discussing the long- and short-term strategies at Infosys, he says, “Our long term strategy for the sector would depend on the structural and fundamental changes that governments, both state and central, undertake. Sector has to become sustainable for utilities as well as partners.”

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Financial well-being vital for sustainable business

 “Demand for technology will pick only if there are structural changes in the sector that require new institutions to be created or there is some improvement in the financial health so that new capital investment can happen,” says, CN Raghupathi, Senior Vice President and Head, India Business Unit, Infosys
Power sector’s socio-economic challengesPower is a complex sector and there are several socio-economic challenges apart from the fundamental challenges of the sector. High Aggregate Technical and Commercial (AT&C) loss remains as the biggest challenge plaguing the sector. This directly impacts financial health of the distribution utilities and has cascading impact on the whole sector. State utilities have cumulative losses of around ` 3 lakh crore and debt of more than ` 4 lakh crore. In the generation sector, there is some progress on the coal supply front. However, C N Raghupathi, Senior Vice President and Head, India Business Unit, Infosys feels there is a lot be done to improve predictability and efficiency of the coal supply chain to meet the demand in the coming years. “Issues with gas pricing and availability also need attention to bring stalled or partly used capacity to main stream,” he adds.
Power transmission and overall gird security and stability also need to be augmented to improve power flow across the country and improve resilience of the grid. There is a plan to add 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. This will come from a mix of large and small scale sources that are intermittent in nature, and will create additional stress on the already stressed grid. Also, according to Raghupathi, structural changes are also essential to make power sector sustainable.
Need structural changes Infosys provides services to the utilities across generation, trading, transmission, system operation and distribution in India. While explaining the impact on the business and its sustainability, Raghupathi says, “Financial well-being of the sector is important for us to get sustainable business. Most of the investments, in the last few years, in information and operational technology have been funded by central government or multilateral agencies. Other lenders already have a huge exposure to the sector. So the demand for technology will pick only if there are structural changes in the sector that require new institutions to be created or there is some improvement in the financial health so that new capital investment can happen.”
Short-term measures Some immediate steps on financial side such as tariff hike and debt restructuring are needed to get the sector back on track, says Raghupathi. On the other hand, he adds, “Distribution utilities should also start using the state-of-the-art technology infrastructure which has been created through Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (RAPDRP) for loss reduction and improving internal efficiencies.”
Long-term measures In the long term, structural changes such as privatisation and franchisee should be explored. Distribution sector is in dire need of such interventions. “The Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2014 can bring in significant reforms in the sector by segregating distribution and supply and creating a new set of companies and institutions. Though this would not be easy to implement but is a step in the right direction,” states Raghupathi.
Eyeing sustainable businessOver the last few years, Infosys has made significant investments in developing solutions for the Indian power sector. It develops solutions to improve grid security and reliability using latest big data and analytics technology. This solutions use data from Phasor Measurement Units (PMU) installed across the grid to predict grid disturbances and improve situational awareness. Transmission utilities are in process of installing PMUs across the grid so there should a solution in place by the time these devices are installed. Commenting on the developments that are happening at Infosys, Raghupathi says, “We have developed solutions for Load Dispatch Centres (LDCs) for scheduling, settlement and energy accounting. This can automate complete operations of LDCs and can significantly reduce turnaround time. We continue to invest in developing solution for demand, supply and price forecasting. We have also developed a solution for complete operation of distribution utility on a cloud platform. AMI and smart grids are other areas where we are developing solutions.”
On discussing the long- and short-term strategies at Infosys, he says, “Our long term strategy for the sector would depend on the structural and fundamental changes that governments, both state and central, undertake. Sector has to become sustainable for utilities as well as partners.”

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