Most of the equipment in the industry today is outdated and needs to be upgraded,” says N. Balakrishnan, managing director (MD), EPCOS India Private Limited (EIPL), a TDK group company. With close to four decades of experience in various segments of the power industry, he has a wide-angle perspective on the sector. “We need to make the transmission & distribution system more modern and efficient. For every 100 units of electricity generated, 25 per cent is lost on either technical or commercial grounds,” he says.
An electrical engineer, Balakrishnan began his professional journey with Larsen & Toubro. Subsequently, he moved to Siemens and then to EIPL, which was formed in 2000. EIPL is engaged in the manufacture of electrical components.
Balakrishnan believes that there are several challenges facing the power sector today. The biggest unresolved challenge is that “15 to 17 per cent of the households in the country do not have access to electricity, and even in cities and towns that do have electricity, it is not 24×7. Setting unrealistic targets is another issue because when these targets are not met, it tends to affect the credibility of the people working on achieving those goals. Effective funds deployment is also a challenge,” he says.
Nevertheless, Balakrishnan is optimistic about the future of the sector. “The government is committed to connecting households without electricity and is making efforts to ensure 24×7 power for all. Many states are already reporting power surpluses and investing in strengthening the power network,” he notes.
On the personal front, Balakrishnan says he makes sure that despite a busy schedule, he devotes time to pursuing personal goals. He has a strong desire to contribute to the education sector, particularly at the preliminary level, and his daughter and son-in-law are partly fulfilling his ambitions. They both work for Teach for India.
Balakrishnan too is contributing his bit to society. He is the founder trustee of the Nashik Run Charitable Trust, which is dedicated to helping the needy. He is also co-founder of Ekakanya, an organisation involved in educating and training girls in rural Rajasthan. To unwind, he enjoys socialising along with his wife, a former banker. His family also includes their son, who works as a business analyst in the US.