Vijay P. Namjoshi, Chief Executive Officer, Coastal Gujarat Power Limited
The 2019 novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), officially named as COVID19 by the W.H.O., has spread to 210 countries and territories around the world including India, making it a global pandemic.The entire country has been passing through testing times for the past few weeks, amid a complete lockdown since 25thMarch, 2020. During this time, we have been proudly acknowledging and admiring the sacrifice and efforts put in by our heroes, i.e. doctors, nursing staff, police, housekeeping / sanitizing teams etc.
As a utility and an essential service provider, we at Tata Power are braving this pandemic along with the heroes, who are working very hard (24X7) for the survival of the citizens & recovery of the nation at large.
While almost all industrial and commercial activities, barring a few essential ones, are at a halt,electricity demand curve has taken new shapes in the affected regions. Coal-fired units are being used as a first option to run for base load operation, as the peaks and valleys of the demand curve are converging. The expectations were high from all the generating stations of Tata Power and Tata Power’s commitment of, “Lighting up Lives” is reaffirmed in these challenging times.
The generation cluster of Tata Power as an essential service provider, across all its 11 locations, has so far been successful in running the plants at full capacity and providing uninterrupted power to all its customers to enable them to stay at home; to all those hospitals,who have kept the patients alive on life-supporting ventilators; to all those research laboratories, who are scouting for cure from this pandemic; to all those homes, where businesses are running as usual working from home; to all those manufacturing facilities, where food and other essential goods are being manufactured; to all those IT and ITeS companies, who have held everyone closer still following social distancing, and to all those Government offices, where policies & strategies are being made to fight against this deadly virus and to protect the Nation.
Sailing through trying times
This pandemic outbreak had put the normal functioning of our generating stations and Tata Powerto test, which we could sail through with the help of –
- World class O&M practices like RCM,which have enhanced the reliability of critical equipment and sustained operations with least requirement of maintenance.
- Adoption of technology and digital platform to ensure smooth, coordinated and unhindered plant operations & workforce productivity. This pandemic has given the rare chance to test our digital workplace strategy. Transitioning to a digital culture doesn’t happen just overnight and we have reaped the benefit of what all has been invested over the years to reach this stage.
- The support functions, which as always, have been the pillars of support to the operations team while working from their homes.
- Last but not the least, our employees,who realised that all of them cannot afford the safety of working from home and took up the challenge with full commitment and dedication. Our “heroes” from operations and maintenance teams have put duty before self, stood bravely and worked tirelessly to provide seamless power supply to all above vital institutions and millions of Indians quarantined at home.
The said employees were the same “heroes” who also worked remarkably well to ensure that the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s initiative “9baje9minutes”, which was to demonstrate solidarity with the country,emerged as a success.
Power engineers across various geographies ensured that the large and sudden variations in demand does not destabilise the grid and power system parameters were maintained within the sustainable limits while continuing uninterrupted power supply.We can proudly say that we have delivered more than what we expected.
Care for Employees and Business Associates
Doing so was a challenge for the management of all Generating stations, but not at the risk and cost of the safety of our workforce. Here, what has proved to be an enabler; are our well-established processes like BCP (Business Continuity Plan), which helped the stations to stay up and running with minimum disruption to operations during the virus outbreak, while at the same time ensuring the safety of our employees.
- The task force constituted across Generating locations, defined the extensive set of measures to ensure employees including business associates get a safe, secure and hygienic work environment amid the spread of the corona virus outbreak. This has been over and above the guidelines issued by the local administration.
- Rotational shift for the employees, critical for reliability of generating stations. Work from home for all support functions like finance, HR, projects etc. This all comes with following protocols like strict social distancing, extensive screening, multiple entry points, use of PPE’s (personal protective equipment) like face masks and gloves, abundance of hand sanitizers, cleaning of surfaces that are frequently touched like shared desks, countertops, electronics, doorknobs and chairs, limiting the exposure and protection by housing the critical staff within the premises like canteen, security and housekeeping staff.
- The health of all the employees and staff has been regularly examined and maintained while taking care of their travel, stay, food, etc. for their health and well-being.
- Regular communication from leadership team boosted the morale of employees and helped them to cope up with the prevailing uncertainty and crisis.
- The employees are encouraged to exploit and learn about resilience, business continuity, collaboration, change, virtual teams and risk, from the Business Continuity Channel of digital knowledge platform, to overcome the implications raised during the current COVID-19 threat.
Care for Community
The generating stations across the country collectively contributed to ensure essential requirements of the community and migrant workmen like daily consumables,soaps, sanitizers, masks, groceries, vegetables etc. were fulfilled. Awareness sessions in the form of audio, posters, and pamphlets were organised for workmen to ensure proper use of PPEs, maintaining social distancing while working and explaining ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ to save themselves and their family members. In addition, the contributions from employees supported the food donation drive for hundreds of medical staff and migrant workers.The divisions, in consultation with doctors, prepared hand sanitizer & disinfectant liquid, in-house, for internal useas well as supplied to local government officials.
Also, team Tata Power has vowed to rise to the occasion and challenges facing the nation with similar alacrity, any time, anyhow.