A lot needs to be done to bring down AT&C losses to single digits. This last-mile journey is a tough one and involves huge discipline,” notes M. Shenbagam, chief (commercial), Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (TPDDL). Shenbagam has over three decades of experience in the power sector. A Tata Power veteran, he started his career in the company’s hydro generation business, handling the modernisation and renovation of hydro plants. Later, he became head of Tata Power’s retail business in Mumbai. Before joining TPDDL, he was heading the company’s business in Vietnam. Currently, he oversees its commercial operations.
On his key priorities, he says, “We have plans to fully utilise the potential of smart meters, mobility, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics to enhance efficiency and user experience.”
Shenbagam feels that in the past few years the overall approach in the sector has been to ensure access to reliable and affordable power. “Our sustainable journey in ensuring that we head towards green energy speaks volumes of our commitment to renewables. January 2019 should see a new beginning with Power for All, which augurs well for sector growth,” he says. Other key aspects for accelerating reforms are tariff rationalisation and PPPs. “If cross-subsidies are reduced to 20 per cent of the average cost of supply, it will help sustain state-run discoms. The PPP model has been tried successfully and should be considered in more cities.” Shenbagam’s most memorable assignment was setting up the Mumbai retail distribution business during 2008-15. Back then, there was a huge setback in the retail business as the case was subjudice before the Supreme Court for five years. With the court validating the company’s distribution licence, the country for the first time saw a clear choice being given to Mumbai users. “Setting up the distribution infrastructure for the retail business was a huge challenge. We saw a growth of 2,000 per cent in customers in five years and 300 per cent in sales,” he says. Shenbagam enjoys his work but also takes out time for tennis, which he is passionate about. He also enjoys watching movies and travelling. Reversing Heart Disease by Dr Dean Ornish and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey are his all-time favourite books. His bucket list includes visiting South Africa for experiencing its wildlife, and watching a tennis match at Wimbledon and a cricket match in Australia.