New Delhi: Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, or TCS, India’s largest information technology services firm by revenue, will help the Union government speed up power sector reforms through services that will monitor energy development programmes—many of which have missed their targets—over the next four years.
TCS will also tie up with public sector units, including transmission utility Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd (PGCIL), power equipment maker Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (Bhel) and power generating firm NTPC Ltd for electricity demand management, equipment research and development, and consulting, respectively.
“These investments on business solutions, innovation labs and academic partnerships will help the government and power utilities accelerate the reforms process,” said S. Ramadorai, chief executive officer of TCS, in an email response to questions from Mint. Partnerships with public sector units will also help “ensure timely implementation of reforms initiatives, leverage next generation technologies and analytical models to reduce transmission and distribution losses and provide reliable power supply.”
He didn’t disclose financial terms.
“There will be a long-term partnership between public sector units and TCS,” said Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for power and commerce. “The idea is to leverage TCS’ resources and expertise in the power sector.”
All these plans are in addition to the Rs10,000 crore software initiatives proposed under APDRP, as reported by Mint on 18 April.
The Centre is worried about its flagship power sector reform programmes increasingly falling short of targets. Both Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Project, or APDRP, and a rural electrification programme dubbed Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, or RGGVY, have fallen short of their targets.
While APDRP has not been able to lower power losses to 15% by the end of 2007, as originally targeted in 2000-01, RGGVY will reach only a little more than half the 125,000 villages it was targeted to cover by the deadline of March 2009.
Power management: TCS chief executive S. Ramadorai. ( Photograph: Abhijit Bhatlekar/ Mint)
TCS will partner with Bhel in designing power equipment through its Computational Research Laboratory. TCS will also join hands with PGCIL through its joint initiative with Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay, called PowerAnser Lab, to develop analytical models to estimate electricity demand accurately, thereby managing real-time demand.
The company will provide consultancy services along with NTPC Electric Supply Co. Ltd, the distribution arm of NTPC, India’s largest power generation firm, for power utilities, Ramesh added. He didn’t elaborate.
Power shortages because of limited generation capacity and growing electricity theft have been identified as one of the key infrastructure bottlenecks threatening the country’s ability to sustain annual economic growth at more than 8%.
Around 34% of power generated in the country continues to be lost due to theft. India has an installed power capacity of 143,000MW.
Some experts are, however, not convinced about the effectiveness of these moves.
“Though these efforts should be employed, an extremely deep industry knowledge is required and these tools alone are not adequate,” said a New Delhi-based power sector analyst, who declined to be named. “The power sector in India is very complex where Western models can’t be applied directly as there are supply constraints. Even policy and regulations are evolving, which these models do not reflect.”