S.K. Agrawal has been associated with NHPC Limited for over three decades. He joined the company as an engineer in 1979, and has since worked extensively in areas such as O&M of hydro plants as well as R&D work for augmenting generation from old power plants. In his current position as executive director, commercial at NHPC, he is in charge of the commercial functions related to tariff petitions, coordination with beneficiaries, PPAs for old and new power stations, revenue realisation and dispute resolution.
Agrawal believes that the country has sufficient installed capacity to meet the present demand and its capacity addition programme is capable of taking care of future requirements. However, he says, “The hydro sector needs to be given higher priority over other forms of power. The positive aspects of hydro development need to be brought to the knowledge of the public. Storage of every drop of usable water has become the need of the hour for which dams/canals and reservoirs need to be built on priority.” He suggests that a policy decision on a “hydro power obligation”, in line with the renewable power obligation, will help in hydropower development.
He notes that the focus on the commercial viability of all stakeholders has taken over the actual goal of power to all, which needs to be revisited. Short-term availability of power is getting more significance than the long-term benefits, which is not in the interest of the country’s energy security. According to Agrawal, power pricing also needs to be regulated. For this, a “power price index” may be developed in order to have a uniform power pricing system in the country. Further, higher investments in distribution will ensure a reduction in T&D losses and provide reliable power to all.
Looking back, Agrawal feels that working as general manager at the Salal Power Station was one of his most memorable assignments. He took several technical decisions as well as R&D initiatives, which helped in improving the generation and performance of the power station.
Agrawal tries to maintain a healthy work-life balance by not taking work home. In his spare time, he likes to watch comedy serials, movies and Discovery Channel, and wishes to travel to new places. His family includes his daughter, who works with the State Bank of India, and his son, who has completed a law degree from Symbiosis University.