Ponniah Sankarakumar: Director, Power Systems, Schneider Electric India

Director, Power Systems, Schneider Electric India

Ponniah Sankarakumar has over 25 years of professional experience, a maj-ority of it in the Dubai and UK markets. He has worked in various areas including business development, sales and marketing. He currently handles the strategic transformation function for the medium voltage business at Schneider Electric India. In this role, he works on ways to increase the company’s profitability and align it with the Make in India policy.

Despite being out the country for 17 years, Sankarakumar has followed the Indian power market closely. The two key problems with the sector, he says, are high T&D losses and power theft or unaccountable usage of power. In this regard, one of the key initiatives that Schneider is working on is smart meter deployment and loss reduction along with public sector major, EESL. According to him, one of the biggest unresolved challenges for the sector currently is integrating renewables based on a value proposition. “Renewables, although fundamentally different, are futuristically very good,” he comments. Other key challenges are inadequate charging infrastructure for EVs and distribution utility sustainability. For the latter, he says that discoms should change their traditional outlook from mere “availability of power” to supplying the “right quality of power”. “Private discoms that are adopting new technologies are alleviating their grids to smarter grids. These discoms will reap the benefits in the next 5-10 years.”

Among all his assignments, Sankara-kumar takes particular pride in the one to re-initiate and re-popularise the training courses for Analysis and Protection of Power Systems, which helps companies  reinforce their knowledge in protection and substation automation applications.

Sankarakumar says he doesn’t follow one particular management style; it depends on the context at the time. He makes decisions after looking at various perspectives, and is professionally and personally always available to his team.

Sankarakumar has a B.Tech in electrical and electronics engineering from the Thiagarajar College of Engineering, Madurai. He maintains a healthy work-life balance, something that he encourages amongst his team as well. To unwind, he watches movies and is a big Rajnikanth fan. He is also an avid traveller and has visited over 50 countries. He enjoys going on adventure trips with his family, comprising his wife and their two teenage sons. He takes pleasure in motivational speaking and often delivers technical lectures at his alma mater.