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Power Grid Corporation: Leveraging Capabilities to Consistently Generate Maximum Value for All Stakeholders

The 31st Annual General Meeting of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited was held on September 22, 2020 through Video Conferencing/Other Audio Visual Means (OAVM). The meeting presented the performance in FY 2019-20, highlighting the various developments and the future strategies of the company. The company registered a total income and profit after tax (PAT) of INR 38,670.96 crore and INR 11,059.40 crore, respectively.

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Overview of performance of Power Grid in FY 2019-20

Power Grid has been conferred the ‘Maharatna’ CPSE status by the Government of India, coinciding with the completion of 30 years of incorporation of the company. The status provides enhanced powers to the board of the company enabling the management to exercise greater financial autonomy. Commemorating its new identity as a Maharatna, Power Grid adopted a new logo which reflects gesture of service to the people & nation, commitment to green energy, sustainability, stability and excellence in technology.

A number of large and important projects were commissioned and completed during FY 2019-20 including the ±800 kV Champa & Kurukshetra HVDC Station Bipole-2 (Pole-III and Pole-IV) which increased the inter-regional power transfer capacity of the country by 3,000 MW; 765kV D/c Ajmer-Bikaner-Moga; 400kV S/c Singrauli-Allahabad; and 400kV D/c Nabinagar II-Patna lines. The assets capitalized added about INR 20,320 crore to the gross block of the company. The capital expenditure during the year has been INR 15,313 crore against the target of INR 15,000 crore.

Power Grid has added 4,984 circuit km (ckm) of extra-high voltage (EHV) transmission lines, 37,987 mega volt ampere (MVA) transformation capacity and 3 new substations during the year. With these developments, the total transmission assets have increased to 163,282 ckm of inter-state transmission lines, and 248 no.s of substations with transformation capacity of 409,899 MVA. The large and growing transmission network of the company has achieved availability of 99.82% with number of tripping per line contained at 0.39. The operational performance of the company is comparable with global transmission utilities both on network performance parameters as well as cost effectiveness.

The company registered a total income of INR 38,317.97 crore and profit after tax (PAT) INR 10,811.18 crore in fiscal 2020, a growth of 7.58% and 8.78% respectively, over the corresponding amounts in fiscal 2019. On a consolidated basis, it registered a total income and profit after tax (PAT) of INR 38,670.96 crore and INR 11,059.40 crore, respectively. The revenue from telecom business increased by 5.3% (year to year) to INR 698.21 crore. On the consultancy front, the revenue stood at INR 610.98 crore for the year ended on March 31, 2020.

Telecom Business — POWERTEL

Power Grid is leveraging its country-wide transmission infrastructure for its telecom business under the brand name ‘POWERTEL’. The company is providing a range of services under its unified license as national long distance (NLD) and internet service provider – category ‘A’ (ISP-‘A’) service authorizations. To increase its network reach for business opportunities, it is also partnering with last mile connectivity providers, transmission utilities and state electricity utilities for RoW, fiber leasing, etc.

The Maharatna company has a strong portfolio of clients in diverse businesses including central and state governments, CPSEs, private sector entities, global and domestic IT companies etc. Apart from point-to-point leased line bandwidth services, internet services, the company is also catering to customers in the enterprise segment by providing virtual private networks (VPN) up to 10 Gbps connectivity on its multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) cloud.

POWERTEL established broadband telecom network of about 67000 Kms connecting over 714 POPs on extensively spread transmission infrastructure. It is the only utility in the country having PAN-India overhead optic fibre on its extra high voltage transmission network, and one of the executing agencies for major prestigious projects of Govt. of India, like — national knowledge network (NKN), BharatNet etc.

During the year 2019-20, the company’s telecom network coverage increased to 66,922 km from 60,990 km at the end of previous year and the telecom backbone availability for the year was 99.97%. Power Grid extended support to its clients during the COVID-19 lockdown period by ensuring quick response to their upgradation and other customer service requests.

The company is exploring new businesses like use of transmission towers for telecom purposes by providing power to the telecom antennae and setting up of data centres. Further, with a vision to directly serve neighboring countries with reliable connectivity, Power Grid has applied to the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) for grant of ILD service authorization in its existing unified license. During the year, it has initiated the process of incorporation of a wholly owned subsidiary company for telecom business.

Contribution to BharatNet initiative: Progress so far

Power Grid is one of the implementing agencies for ‘BharatNet’ Phase-I project envisaged to provide broadband connectivity to gram panchayats (GPs), thus making valuable contribution to the initiatives of the Govt. of India for digital India.

The company has laid OFC for 10,590 GPs by the end of FY 2019-20, out of 10,838 GPs allotted to the Company by Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) under Phase-I. The scope of work is spread across 39 districts in 5 states viz., Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand & Odisha.

Adoption of latest technology

Power Grid has developed an in-house software tool, POWERGRID Asset Life Management System (PALMS), for improved monitoring of its fleet of transformers and reactors. At the end of FY 2019-20, nearly 1,300 transformers and 1,700 reactors are being monitored through this system and the analysis of data generated empowers asset managers with better knowledge and awareness about the assets, helping them in timely and appropriate decision making.

Further, the ompany uses various technological tools for ensuring better availability of transmission lines such as aerial patrolling of transmission lines, thermo-vision scanning, corona camera, high resolution video and digital camera, android based patrolling application for live updation of data and effective monitoring of critical locations etc.

Way forward

As the Government of India has set a target of establishing 175GW of renewable capacity by December 2022, which includes 100GW solar capacity and 60GW wind capacity; thus, towards fulfillment of this target, 66.5GW potential renewable energy zones have been identified comprising 50GW solar and 16.5GW wind in seven RE rich states. A comprehensive transmission scheme has been evolved for integrating above renewable energy zones at an estimated cost of INR 42,000 crore of which works of INR 17,500 crore have been allocated for implementation either through Power Grid or through bidding route. Projects worth INR 16,000 crore are under bidding and the balance is under discussion/approval. Going forward, the sector expects sustained growth in installed capacity with greater share of renewables and the company is well positioned for the same.

Power Grid is promoting e-mobility by adopting electric vehicles for its own use and by installing fast EV charging stations at a number of places. With the support from Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and EV (FAME) Scheme, a Govt. of India scheme for e-mobility promotion, the company is also in the process of establishing eleven multi-modal charging stations at Shillong.

A cooperation agreement has been signed with Africa50 for development of transmission project in Kenya on PPP model through joint venture in which Power Grid shall have equity stake as a technical partner. Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in projects.

Efforts to improve sustainability of business

Power Grid has been successful in considerable reduction of forest involvement in its transmission lines i.e. from around 6% in 1998 to around 2% presently by consistently following the cardinal principle of avoidance and minimization as per its environmental and social policy & procedures (ESPP).

The company is playing a key role in integration of renewable energy resources by implementation of green energy corridors (GEC) — inter-state transmission system (ISTS) at 765kV and 400kV level in renewable resource rich states in the country. It has also evolved a comprehensive transmission plan for grid integration of various renewable energy zones (66.5GW) in the country. To enable forecasting of renewable resources and efficient management of intermittent renewable generation, Power Grid Corporation, on behalf of Govt. of India, has established renewable energy management centres (REMCs) at 11 (eleven) locations in various SLDCs/ RLDCs/ NLDC.

Recognizing the importance of solar power in combating climate change and in-line with GOI’s commitment towards Paris Agreement, it has installed about 6MWp rooftop solar PV systems covering more than 65 locations which is generating about 8 million units (MUs) of electricity annually, thereby, reducing CO2 emission of approx. 8000 MT per year. Further, process for establishment of additional 5MWp Rooftop Solar PV Systems is in progress.

Furthermore, Power Grid continues to undertake initiatives on energy efficiency which includes energy audits of various industries or institutions, transmission and distribution companies, water management systems of canals and irrigation departments/other commercial establishments. The company is a BEE-certified ESCO (Energy Service Company) for undertaking implementation of energy efficiency projects. To facilitate implementation, it has signed MoUs with government agencies such as UPPCL, EMC Kerala, IIT Roorkee and NIT Warangal.

The company has implemented green energy corridors (GEC) — inter-state transmission system (ISTS) at 765kV & 400kV level as well as its control infrastructure comprising forecasting of renewable generation, dynamic compensation, establishment of renewable energy management centres (REMC) at SLDCs/RLDCs/NLDC level, etc. It has also evolved a comprehensive transmission scheme for grid integration of various renewable energy zones (66.5GW) in the country.

Emerging opportunities

The changing landscape of Indian power sector together with other developments like smart cities, digitization, railway electrification, energy security, demand side management, electric vehicles, and improving financial health of DISCOMs with focus on customer is creating business opportunities, which could be in the field of consultancy and telecom as well newer areas of battery storage, distribution, smart grid and smart cities, advance metering infrastructure, railways etc.

Further, the Government of India has proposed Amendment to Electricity Act 2003, with consumer centricity as one of the objectives. The various steps of the Govt. involving policy and financial support are envisaged to bring about the long pending improvements in the state power sector leading to increased business opportunities.

* The above information has been sourced from Power Grid Corporation’s Annual report 2019-20.

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