New Dynamics

Consultants’ views

Power demand has been witnessing an increase in recent months on the back of a heatwave and expanding economic activity. Peak power demand also hit a new high. Meanwhile, there are concerns over inadequate coal availability at thermal power plants (TPPs) and the poor performance of discoms, which continue to weigh down the sector. Going forward, clean energy transition, technology upgradation, energy storage solutions and green hydrogen are expected to receive growing attention. Power Line presents the views of leading consultants on the state of the sector and its future outlook…

What is your assessment of the power sector’s progress during the past year?

Sachin Gupta

Financial year 2021-22 has been a mixed bag for the power sector. While bo­th the renewable and thermal power sectors reported relatively better numbers, the distribution segment saw bel­ow-average performance, bogged down by coal shortages.

Among the positives, energy demand during the year grew 8.2 per cent year on year, backed by a low base, but even in comparison to 2019-20 the growth has been at a healthy 6.9 per cent. At its pe­ak, power demand hit new highs of 200 GW and 210 GW in July 2021 and June 2022 respectively, leading to better utilisation levels among thermal generators, which reported an improved plant load factor (PLF) of 58.87 per cent in financial year 2022 (PY: 54.57 per cent). With 15.5 GW of capacity added during 2021-22, the renewable energy sector led with new installations (PY: 7.7 GW) against the net capacity addition of 17.3 GW in 2021-22.

However, coal shortage continues to be a challenge for the sector. While it is a recurring phenomenon post monsoons (around September) every year, the se­ve­­­­rity was higher in 2021-22 as many pla­nts had critical levels of stocks for a few days. The shortage was largely attri­buted to a sudden surge in power de­ma­nd and exorbitant imported coal prices (which usually make up for any shortfall in domestic production).

As far as the power distribution segment is concerned, while aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C) have re­mained at 21 per cent over the past few years, issues around the increa­sing revenue gap continue. The widening gap was primarily due to a lack of cost-ref­lective tariffs and stagnant AT&C losses. The discom overdues problem, whi­ch was partially countered with the help of Atmanirbhar Bharat and the liquidity infusion package, has again resurfaced. It should be noted that despite re­peated liquidity injections through various government schemes over the past de­cade, payments by some state discoms continue to be stretched.

Somesh Kumar

India is eyeing becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025. It has recently overtaken the UK to become the fifth-largest economy in the world. To continue on this developmental track, a critical role is played by the power sector. India has twin goals – first, to ensure 24×7 adequ­ate and reliable energy access, and seco­nd, to accelerate clean energy transition by reducing the country’s reliance on fossil-based energy and shifting to clea­ner and renewable energy sources. With such goals in perspective, multiple positive changes have been brought about in the past year such as:

  • Moving towards power surplus from power deficit: India has transformed itself from a power-deficit to power-sur­­plus country. From 2014 till Nov­em­ber 2021, power generation capacity of 160.8 GW, consisting of 83,920 MW of fossil fuel based and 76,900 MW of non-fossil fuel based capacity, has been added, making India power surplus. Even in August 2022, the peak dema­nd of 195.8 GW was met. It has been possible because of the adequate ins­talled capacity to the tune of 404 GW as of July 2022. It has about 236 GW of fossil-fuel based (coal, lignite, gas and diesel) capacity whereas around 168 GW is non-fossil based (renewable en­ergy, nuclear and hydro). The installed capa­city is now close to double the pe­ak demand and India is exporting pow­er to Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Moving towards 24×7 power supply: All states and union territories have si­gn­ed MoUs with the central government to ensure 24×7 power supply to all households, industrial and commercial consumers and adequate po­wer supply to agricultural consumers. It has been supported by a robust na­tio­nal grid enabling seamless transfer of power from resource-centric re­gio­ns to load-centric regions. It has led to an increase in power availability in ru­ral areas by up to 21:09 hours and by 23:41 hours in urban areas.
  • Placing competition at the heart of po­wer transactions: It has been done by strengthening the power exchan­g­es. Even new products such as the real-ti­me market, green term-ahead ma­r­ket, etc., have been launched.
  • Focus on clean energy transition: In­dia has set a long-term target of rea­ch­ing net zero by 2070. Recently, the cabinet has approved the updated Natio­na­lly Determined Contribution (NDC) committed to the United Nations Fra­me­work Convention on Climate Ch­an­ge. It also aims to reduce the emission intensity of its gross domestic product by 45 per cent by 2030. The updated NDC also represents the framework for India’s transition to cleaner energy for the period 2021-30. It is being fostered with tax concessions and in­centives such as the production-link­ed incentive (PLI) scheme for the promotion of manufacturing and adoption of rene­wable energy, creating a platform for India to become a self-reliant and ex­port-oriented nation.

Sabyasachi Majumdar

Electricity demand in India remains buoyant in the current fiscal due to re­co­very of economic activity and the severe heatwave in the northern and central parts of the country in the first quarter. The demand increased by 18.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2022-23 over the corresponding period in the previous year. This demand is likely to witness a year-on-year growth of 6.5-7 per cent at the end of this financial year. This follows a healthy demand growth of 8.2 per cent in 2021-22, the highest annual percentage electricity demand growth in two consecutive years since 2011-12 and 2012-13. The recovery in electricity de­ma­nd is expected to improve the all-In­dia average thermal PLF level to 61-61.5 per cent in 2022-23, from 58.9 per cent in 2021-22.

Coal-based independent power producers benefited from a sharp increase in short-term tariffs in the first quarter of 2022-23 despite the adverse impact of hi­gh coal prices. A sustained improvement in electricity demand, and in turn, the thermal PLF level remains a critical factor in improving the outlook for thermal generation.

The outlook for the renewable energy sector is favourable, led by continued po­li­cy support from the Government of India, strong project pipeline and superior tariff competitiveness offered by wind and solar power projects, both in the utility and open access segments. The ins­talled capacity in the renewable en­­ergy segment has doubled over the past 5.5 years, led by strong policy support and tariff competitiveness. Invest­ment pros­pec­ts are expected to remain strong over the next decade, with a target to reach 450 GW renewable energy ca­pacity by 2029-30 from the current level of 114 GW.

The key challenges constraining gr­owth are on the execution front, mainly associated with land and transmission infrastructure, distribution utility finan­ces and tariff viability concerns, amidst elevated module prices and hardening in­terest rates. The prices of mono PERC (passive emitter and rare contact) modules have increased by over 40 per cent to 27-28 cent per watt in the past 18 mo­nths. This has been mainly driven by a sharp increase in the price of polysilicon and supply chain issues in China due to Covid-19. While supply chain cha­ll­en­ges are showing signs of improvement, pri­ces remain elevated amid continued hi­gh­er prices for polysilicon. This, along wi­th the imposition of customs duty fr­om April 2022, has kept module prices relatively high in India. Notwithstanding the elevated module prices and hardening interest rates, solar bid tariff ra­tes continue to be highly competitive at less than Rs 2.40 per unit, as seen from re­cent bids. While this is positive from the discoms’ perspective, the ability of deve­lopers to make these projects viable re­ma­ins to be seen.

The demand outlook for domestic solar or­iginal equipment manufacturers (OEMs) remains favourable, with strong po­licy support through the imposition of cu­s­toms duty on imported cells and mo­du­­les, notification of the PLI scheme and inclusion of only domestic manufa­cturers in the Approved List of Models and Manufacturers (ALMM). The policy push is expected to improve the cost co­mpetitiveness of domestic OEMs and lead to large capacity announcements by various OEMs and also the entry of new pla­y­ers. The ability of OEMs to achieve ba­­ck­ward integration and build econo­mies of scale would be important to remain competitive against overseas suppliers on a sustained basis. The share of domestic OEMs in solar power installations in the country is likely to witness a healthy growth, led by these policy initiatives over the next three to five years.

The thermal segment continues to face challenges owing to the lack of mean­i­n­g­ful progress in signing of new long-term/medium-term power purchase ag­reements (PPAs), delays in payments fr­om discoms, inadequacy of domestic co­al availability and a sharp increase in the national coal prices in the recent pa­st. Moreover, tighter environmental co­m­­­­pliance requirements remain a key ch­allenge for this segment.

Further, state-owned distribution utilities continue to be in a fragile financial health, due to the high level of AT&C lo­sses, inadequate tariffs in relation to the cost of power supply, delays in subsidy support from the state governments and delays in receiving payments from state government bodies. Their overall debt burden, despite the implementation of the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana, is estimated to have increased to over Rs 6 trillion in 2021-22. Considering the hi­ghly subsidised power tariffs for agriculture and certain sections of residential consumers, the overall subsidy depen­de­nce is estimated to remain high at ab­out Rs 1.5 trillion this year at an all-In­dia level. As a result, discoms in key sta­tes continue to report losses, leading to de­lays in payments to power generating companies and impacting the quality of supply to consumers.

A major area of concern affecting discom finances is the significant delay in the process of tariff determination in ma­­ny states. The tariff determination pro­cess for discoms for 2022-23 remains sluggish, with tariff petitions for 2022-23 being filed by 24 out of 29 states and tariff orders being issued only for 18 states. While the median tariff hike is higher in 2022-23 compared to the past two years, this is likely to remain inadequate, considering the expected increase in the po­wer purchase cost for discoms in 2022-23 due to the rising dependency on costlier imported coal.

Sambitosh Mohapatra

Emerging from the setback of tepid de­mand and investments due to Covid-19, the past year provided multiple gr­een shoots of sector revival and growth. A few key indicators of the power sect­or’s progress over the past year have be­en captured below:

  • Demand spurt post Covid-19: The pe­ak power demand in 2021-22 we­nt up to around 203 GW, increasing by 6.4 per cent over 2020-21, driven by the post-Covid recovery of industries, co­m­mercial and economic activities, as well as rising per capita consumption. Sub­se­quently in July 2022, the dema­nd surg­ed further, hitting an all-time high of 215 GW. It shows positive signs of demand revival, growth and investments in the se­ctor resulting in impro­v­ed efficiency of TPPs – all-India PLF went up to 58.9 per cent in 2021-22 compared to 54.6 per cent in the previous year.
  • Dampening operational and financial efficiencies: AT&C losses and the average cost of supply (ACS)-average revenue realised (ARR) gap of discoms dipped due to the impact of poor bill­ing and collections during the initial phases of Covid-19. It has impacted pa­y­­ables to gencos, which have go­ne up to Rs 1,100 billion, creating risks of non-performing assets and slow­ing down investments.
  • Focus on carbon reduction targets, pa­ving the energy transition pathway: With the country surpassing 403 GW of installed capacity, renewable en­ergy (including hydro) has touched 40 per cent of the energy mix. In 2021-22, 15 GW of the total 17 GW added during the year is from renewable en­ergy sources.

In November 2021, during COP26, India put itself on a pedestal by pledging to ac­hieve net zero carbon emission by 2070. The targets for 2030 in­clude ensu­ring 500 GW of non-fossil-based installed ca­pa­city, 50 per cent of energy requirement coming from rene­wables, cutting down the net projected carbon emission by 1 billion tonnes and reducing carbon in­ten­sity by more than 45 per cent. A plan has also been put in place to phase out older TPPs after completion of the PPA tenure or beyond 25 years from the commercial operation date, with guidelines issued for enabling discoms for exiting PPAs from such plants.

The introduction of the Electricity (Pro­motion of Generation of Electri­city from Must-Run Power Plant) Ru­les, 2021 en­su­res that renewable energy power plan­ts do not suffer any curtailment or regulation on account of merit order despat­ch or other considerations. The waiver of in­ter­state tra­ns­mission system charges for transmission of electricity generated fr­om solar, wind, hy­dro, pumped storage and battery energy storage system proje­cts till June 2025 will also act as an incentive.

  • The crucial policies and reforms seeded in the past year that will shape the future of the sector: The roll-out of the Revamped Distri­bu­­tion Sector Scheme (RDSS) for im­provement in power reliability and quality, reduction in AT&C losses and ACS-ARR gap of public discoms is one such reform. With planned investments of Rs 3,000 billion, the scheme plans to bring in reforms around network infrastructure, governance and technology. The 100 per cent smart pre­paid metering is expected to be a key enabler for im­pro­ving the cash flow challenges and plugging energy leakages in the value chain to drive viability and greater consumer service.

Another important reform is the transition to a wholesale power market for driving competitive energy prices, efficiency and effective utilisation of renewable energy power. For instance, market-based economic despatch  – Phase I is expected to re­du­ce the po­wer purchase cost for consu­mers by at least 5 per cent. Similarly, the gr­een day-ahead market for trading re­ne­wable energy power on a day-ahead ba­sis is expected to facilitate the ac­hievement of green targets.

Strengthening of transmission capacity planning by introducing general net­work access in interstate transmission.

What are the top trends to watch out for in the power sector in the coming years?

Sachin Gupta

Decarbonisation of the power generation segment tops the charts with India’s thrust on it visible in various policies and commitments on global forums. It will be exciting to see how the initiatives by re­newable players overcome their ex­i­sting challenges and progress towards the government’s targets. Particularly in this aspect, the quantum of renewable ca­­pacity addition, reduction in the in­te­rmittency of renewable power supply th­rough the integration of sources such as thermal, wind and solar, and augme­n­tation of storage methods such as pum­ped and battery storage will be important for India to achieve its long-term commitments to green energy. Fur­ther, the setting up and ramping up of green hydrogen capacities to support the core manufacturing sector and tra­ns­­por­ta­tion will be important.

In the medium term, technology upgradation, including digitalisation in the distribution segment, will be a key tre­nd. The installation of smart meters, which is one of the pillars of the RDSS, is likely to im­prove the operational efficiency of discoms. The extent of impro­vement will ha­ve a direct bearing on the financial he­al­th of the distribution segment, which will, in turn, positively affect the working capital requirements in power generation.

Somesh Kumar

The power sector is on the cusp of transformation led by 3Ds, that is, decarbonisation, digitalisation and decentralisation. In addition, with the global focus on climate change and sustainability, a shift from traditional energy sources to clean and sustainable sources is una­voi­dable. One aspect of this shift will be reflected in the wider application of el­ectrification. Hence, the power sector is bound to change. Some of the top tr­en­ds in the power sector would be:

  • Increased focus on clean energy so­urces: India has a huge economic op­portunity in clean energy transition. It is also well placed to become a global leader in renewable batteries and green hydrogen. India has already set a conditional target of net zero emissions by 2070. The Covid-19 pandemic and the geopolitical tussle is a stark reminder that the ongoing energy transition is a boon for India’s long-term energy security, sustainability and self-reliance. The International En­ergy Agency (IEA) estimates that $160 billion per year is needed, on an av­erage, across India’s en­­ergy economy between now and 2030. Even th­ough the focus would de­pend on the financial assistance and technological transfer from developed nations, the global scenario indicates the need for an increased focus on clean energy sources.
  • Enhanced activity in the energy storage space: With an ambitious clean energy target, along with an increase in the number of new technologies su­ch as electric vehicles (EVs) and in­c­reased capacity of intermittent rene­wable energy, there would be a reduc­ti­on in grid inertia. One way to maintain it is en­ergy storage. Bloom­berg­NEF estimates the market to exceed $150 billion annually by 2030, acting as a mo­tivator for Indian market participants also. The IEA outlook 2021 also projects 140-200 GW of battery storage capacity by 2040, which is potentially a third of the total battery storage capacity. With industry players such as Adani and Reliance foraying into this space, a lot of action is expec­ted in the coming future.
  • Acceleration of green hydrogen adoption: Hy­dro­gen would also play a role in decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors (manufacturing and transport) and hence, would play a strategic role for India in achieving its net zero goal. India’s Green Hydrogen Policy will also kick-start energy transition efforts. India is also targeting to become a hub for the production and export of green hydrogen under its National Hydro­g­en Mi­ss­ion. This acceleration is gaining pa­ce because the country is aiming at becoming energy independent by 2047. Currently, India spends over $160 billion of foreign exchange every year for energy imports, which are li­ke­ly to double in the next 15 years wi­th­out remedial action. Hence, green hydrogen adoption would accelerate owing to government push, prevailing geopolitical crisis and increased interest from private players.

Sambitosh Mohapatra

Some of the major trends in the coming years shall be as follows:

  • Ensuring national-level energy security and sustainability: With increasing demand in the country and taking cues from the energy crisis across oth­er economies such as Europe, Austra­lia, etc., ensuring energy security and su­stainability has come to the forefr­ont. With India’s vision to achieve its cli­mate action targets, striking the ri­ght balance between dependence on fossil fuels, increasing penetration of intermittent renewable energy power and promoting alternative clean fuels such as hydrogen/ammonia, will be extremely critical.
  • Realisation of early benefits of the RDSS: Given the well-rounded app­ro­­a­ch of the scheme, measures such as liquidation of outstanding subsidy du­es, state government department du­es, timely implementation of cost-reflective reta­il tariffs and takeover of financial losses for some states are ex­pected to br­ing in some relief in the form of additional cash flows to pow­er utilities.
  • Emergence of new/disruptive business models: With large investments planned, disruptive business models such as leasing, totex, design-build-fi­nance-own-operate-transfer, etc., are expected to gain traction to allow qui­ck investments, tackle technology ca­pa­bilities of the buyer, bring in a wider range of service providers moving be­yond the traditional sectoral players, among others.
  • Need for a wider range of lower-cost and innovative funding: With new and innovative technologies/solutio­ns planned to be deployed across the power value chain including distribu­t­ed energy sources, EV charging, distribution automation, smart grids, asset health monitoring devices, etc., access to innovative funding options with low cost would be critical for ensuring grid parity and affordability.
  • Active participation of consumers in the power ecosystem: Consumers are being empowered with access to real-time consumption data through smart metering and mobile apps, becoming prosumers and playing a greater role in shaping the energy transition journey. This transition would require the traditionally monopolistic and public sector operated utilities to reshape their traditional way of looking at consumer services and life cycle, moving towards a consumer-centric approach.

What is the outlook for the power sector in the near to medium term?

Sachin Gupta

Power demand is fairly correlated to the economic growth of the country and hence it is expected to sustain with the uptick in economic activity. For financial year 2022-23, according to CARE Ratin­gs, the power demand is estimated to grow at 6-7 per cent.

Better demand prospects and coal shor­tages have led to firm electricity prices on the power exchange. This trend is likely to continue over the short to medium term with higher power de­mand, elevated international coal prices and limited capacity additions. Over the past six to nine months, buoyed by ro­bust prices on the power exchange, we have seen significant deleveraging amo­ng the companies exposed to merchant markets. Also, a small part of the ongoing co­nsolidation in thermal power markets is due to better cash flows on the back of high prices on exchanges. We expect both trends – consolidation and deleveraging – to continue in the me­dium term.

While fiscal year 2021-22 saw significant capacity addition that continued in the first quarter of 2022-23 at 4.2 GW (PY: 2.6 GW), we see the near-term module supply challenge for the industry largely driven by tariff (basic customs duty imposition) and non-tariff barriers (ALMM) imposed by the government and capacity constraints domestically. Notwith­standing the equipment supply-related challenges, we believe re­newable energy capacity addition would be around 14 GW this year. While a significant bid-out capacity is awaiting execution, the in­crease or decrease in the pace of renewable capacity additions over the next few years would depend on how fast the domestic manufacturing industry adds up capacity.

Somesh Kumar

The outlook for the power sector in the near to medium term looks positive be­cau­se of policy and regulatory chang­es taking place in the country. But this outlook is conditional, based on the implementation of various electricity reforms.

The power sector will continue to grapple with challenges on delayed payment to generators; however, slow progress sh­ould not be equated to failure.

Although distribution utilities have been in a perpetual crisis, owing to heavy po­liticisation and heavy subsidies in the name of votes, their performance kept improving with the completion of each revival package notified by the centre. There were multiple schemes such as the Accelerated Power Develop­me­nt and Re­forms Programme, the Restruc­tu­red APDRP), the Ra­jiv Gandhi Grameen Vi­dy­utikaran Yoja­na, the Deendayal Up­adh­yaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, Saubhag­ya, etc. A key target of these schemes was to stren­gthen the sub-transmission and distribution network, metering of in­fra­structure and IT enablement. These schemes have their own share of positive and negative impacts.

The Ministry of Power has launched the RDSS, which is a reforms-based and re­sult-linked scheme, taking cognisance of learning from the experience of previous schemes.

Going forward, with the implementation of reform-based and result-linked sche­mes, the targeted reduction in AT&C lo­sses at a pan-Indian level is ex­pected to be 12-15 per cent by 2024-25 and the re­duc­tion of the ACS-ARR gap to zero by 2024-25.

Although the RDSS presents a bright picture, along with stringent steps taken by the government to reduce the overdues of gencos from discoms, the fault li­nes wo­u­ld continue to remain evident till the subsidy burden is shed completely and timely by discoms, pilferages are mini­mi­sed and reform-based implementation is adequately done.

Sector coupling, along with the rise in renewable capacity additions, would continue to open avenues for increase in renewable power demand and decarbonisation. The integration of renewable en­ergy with the mainstream power supply (with open access playing a major role), along with the necessity to improve energy efficiency, will harmonise the industrial and non-industrial sectors that would be coupled or linked together to decarbonise the power sector. The sector coupling of transportation, ind­us­trial and commercial consumer segments would play a critical role in decarbonising India’s economy. Sunrise sectors such as green hydrogen, EVs, green fuels, etc., will play a critical role in this. Fur­ther, renewable energy 100 targets and commitments by corporates would play a vital role in the required “pull” th­at would naturally come for commercial and industrial players.

Leveraging India’s distinct advantage to produce low-cost, round-the-cl­ock re­ne­wable power, complemented by fall­ing electrolyser costs, will boost green hydrogen production as well as power demand from renewables. In or­der to meet the 5 million tonne green hy­dro­gen production target by 2030, India would need 115 GW of dedicated re­newable power.

Further, utilising renewable power for charging EVs would play a major role in stabilising the grid, as grid variability due to renewable energy can be conveniently absorbed in the mobile batteries. Nevertheless, tenders for standalone ba­ttery-based energy storage systems are seeing a rise in India and would aid in uti­lising the stored energy on a “on-de­mand” basis to suit the peak and off-peak power demand, which would also help in decarbonising the power sector.

However, the imposition of cross-subsidy surcharge, additional charges and other components of open access charges wo­uld remain the key impediments to de­carbonising the power sector, at least till such time as the electricity amendment act that sparks competition amo­ng discoms is enacted in spirit. Open access charges should not deter the growth in ab­sorption of renewable energy capacities. The need of the hour for di­scoms is to have a long-term master plan to assess multiple scenarios that would involve re-engineering of their existing PPAs to meet the existing and future de­mand at the least cost and optimise the capital investment plan of the sector.

Further, the state generation companies need to find avenues to improve their revenue sources through various initiatives such as third-party sale of surplus unscheduled power, improvement of demand-side management receivables and also grab opportunities to earn from the ancillary services market.

Sabyasachi Majumdar

In its budget for 2021-22, the central government had announced the launch of a “reforms-based and results-linked” sc­he­me for the distribution sector, with the objective of improving the financial health and operational efficiency of discoms by reducing AT&C losses. Subse­qu­ently, the RDSS was notified in July with an overall outlay of Rs 3.03 trillion. This is inclusive of a budgetary grant/su­pport of Rs 976.31 billion, spread over a five-year period. Under the scheme, AT&C losses are sought to be brought down to 12-15 per cent by 2025-26, th­rough smart me­te­ring and distribution in­frastructure upgradation, including the segregation of agricultural feeders. As of April 2022, the government has ap­p­roved proposals of 13 states under this scheme, with a financial outlay of arou­nd Rs 1.62 trillion. The timely implementation of projects under the RDSS, including the smart metering programme, remains key to improving discom efficiencies.

On the whole, the on improving operational efficiency, timely issuance of tariff orders with adequate tariff revisions and timely subsidy payouts are necessary to ensure the financial sustainability of the discoms. A strong political will and support from the state governments is nee­ded to achieve this objective.

Sambitosh Mohapatra

  • Energy transition: India being the world’s fourth-biggest carbon dioxide emitter, for the first time, has express­ed a concrete target year for achieving net ze­ro. However, the path ahead is steep and large-scale investments alo­ng with support from the forerunners would be paramount.
  • Building a resilient and reliable utility ecosystem: With electricity expected to play a catalyst role in the economy, ensuring resilience of the infrastr­ucture and ecosystem to natural hazards, calamities, cyberthreats, etc., wh­i­­­­le maintaining service standards ar­ou­nd reliable and quality power, wo­ul­d be extremely critical.
  • Digital transformation: Technology is evolving as a major disruptor across the utility space. In the power sector, sm­art metering is a forerunner of this digital transformation journey. Data from consumer smart metering, coupled with various other utility legacy systems, can drive valuable and actio­n­able insights for utilities. This will drive the entire digital value chain of ad­­van­ced artificial intelligence/ma­chine lear­ning platforms and information technology/operational technology sys­­tems. Smart metering acts as a gateway to a huge ambit of un­tap­p­ed do­wn­stream market opportunities such as distributed energy reso­ur­ces, home automation, EV charging, demand res­ponse, in-house feedback systems, etc.
  • Improved governance among utilities: With new technologies/business models kicking in, utilities might need to relook at their organisation structure to map ex­isting competencies, cor­porate governance norms, key performance indicators, rewards/incentive mechanism, per­­for­mance moni­to­ring framework, etc., and realign th­em to build a future-ready and sustainable organisation.

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