Bishnupada Sethi, Principal Secretary, Energy
Odisha pioneered the next wave of power reforms sector in the country in the 90s with unbundling of the erstwhile Orissa State Electricity Board (OSEB) and creating separate entities for generation, distribution, and transmission.
Now, months after taking over the reins of the energy department, Sethi is contemplating the next wave of power reforms in the electricity sector where information and communications technology (ICT) will play a seminal role in the way power is delivered to the consumers.
At a recent seminar hosted by the leading industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci), Sethi spoke of leveraging tools of ICT to bring about changes in providing electricity services to the consumers.
The IT applications are envisaged for an array of services- bill payments, SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) and grievance redressal.
Our objective is to ensure minimal human interface in the delivery of services. The planned efforts are very much in sync with the Naveen Patnaik government’s 5T governance model- made up by components like technology, transparency, teamwork, transformation and time limit.
“We are able to reduce energy loss significantly by installing smart meters. To ensure a stable power supply we acted on every aspect of energy supply. So many customer-centric approaches are also adopted. We introduced multiple payment avenues like a bank, mobile payment and post office. Odisha is now focusing more on resilient power supply”, he added.
Of late, the plan for a disaster-resilient power network has been in limbo for about seven years has gained currency after Fani’s vicious strike.
In the cyclone’s aftermath, Odisha’s power infrastructure has sustained damage of over Rs 8000 crore, affecting more than three million consumers.
Realizing the gravity of the damage, the state energy department is keen to make the power scheme broad-based. This time, the disaster-proof power network will span Odisha’s entire coastal strip.
In his previous stint as the secretary of revenue & disaster management department, Sethi has proved his extraordinary mettle in combating a furious cyclone with technology applications.
He was instrumental in installing the Early Warning & Dissemination System (EWDS). The system offered an integration of critical components that were put up by L&T and was well connected with the cyclone shelters and control rooms of vulnerable coastal districts.
The successful implementation of EWDS helped the Odisha government to take up colossal evacuation work of 1.2 million people from the danger zone to safe shelters.
Besides being an administrator of high caliber, Sethi(The Next Wave of Power Reforms) is an outstanding man of letters. His creative musings and a profound taste for literature have kept him engaged with the world of letters.
He is a confirmed poet with his poesy touching the depths of human emotions.