Arun Kumar Mishra, who took over as director, National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) in April 2017, brings to the table over 24 years of power sector experience. An electrical engineer from the Regional Engineering College, Kurukshetra and a certified ISMS lead auditor, Mishra started his career with NTPC, later moving to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited. His experience spans the planning, design and implementation of power systems, information and communication technology (ICT) integration in power utilities, SCADA and smart grid applications. He has also undertaken feasibility studies and requirement analysis of load despatch centres, besides designing their complex communication networks.
Mishra is a member of the CIGRE India-National System Committee on Information Systems and Telecommunications, and the BIS Sectional Committee of LITD10 for Power System Control and Associated Communications. As director of the NSGM, he is responsible for achieving the objective of the mission to transform the power sector into a secure, adaptive and digitally enabled ecosystem that provides reliable and quality energy for all.
Mishra has immense interest in smart grids development. He explains, “A smart grid ecosystem entails research and development, formation of standards/functionalities, communication and outreach programmes, training and collaboration, but the foremost is readiness to change.”
He explains that the budget outlay for the NSGM (Rs 9.8 billion in the first phase) is to establish showcase projects while the reliability-related smart grid business case can fund itself many times over as long as everyone realises the maxim of “no power is as costly as no power”. Regarding smart grid pilot projects, there have been challenges related to interoperability, process re-engineering, regulatory approvals, tariff design and capacity building. Besides, delays in arranging counterpart funding by utilities, and procurement and contractual issues have hampered project execution. Currently, seven projects worth Rs 9.16 billion, covering 1 million consumers, are under way under the NSGM with 30 per cent funding from the Ministry of Power.
In his spare time, Mishra likes reading about emerging trends in power systems, innovations in utilities and utility challenges. His favourite book is Built to Last. He also intends to write a book some day. “My goal is to write a book where I can share my experience about how ICT has helped transform the power sector.”