Hemant Sharma, 1995 batch IAS officer and secretary, energy with the Odisha government is powering reforms to change the state’s power landscape. Sharma, also the CMD of Gridco and OPTCL, has undertaken massive work to overhaul the power system apparatus. He is also constantly flagging the issues concerning the state in his liaisons with the Government of India.
Sharma’s key priorities have been reforms and expediting projects to ensure long-term energy security. A proven performer, Sharma is one of the most bankable administrators the state has seen over the past two decades. His penchant for performance easily places him over his peers. Though Sharma can handle any portfolio with elan, it is the power sector that has drawn the best out of him.
Under his dynamism, Odisha has almost achieved 100 per cent rural electrification. “Infrastructure strengthening works in some 20,000 odd partially electrified (PE) villages as against the scope of 32,000 PE villages are under progress and the completion target is October, 2018. With regard to electrification households, by now we have completed 68 lakh households and remaining 28 lakh households”, says Sharma.
To augment power capacity and ensure long-term energy security for the state, plans are afoot to add 4900 new capacity by 2022. The portfolio includes 1300 Mw Odisha share from the proposed 4000 Mw ultra mega power plant (UMPP), 800 Mw from NTPC expansion project at Darlipalli and 2100 Mw from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
One of his striking achievements in the successful implementation of the underground cabling in Puri and significant areas in Bhubaneswar, Baripada and Sambalpur with an expenditure of around Rs 210 crore. “The State Capital Region Improvement of Power System (SCRIPS) envisages meeting energy needs of the State capital region up to 2030, ensuring 24×7 uninterrupted, reliable and stable power supply in the geographical areas covering under the comprehensive development plan for Bhubaneswar and Cuttack urban complex. Scope of SCRIPS includes setting up of GIS grid stations and GIS 33/11 KV S/s, underground cabling of 132 kV and below voltage level lines and conversion of overhead transmission ACSR conductors to HTLS with an estimated project cost of Rs 1,500 crore. Automation and use of Smart Grid technology will ensure more reliable, efficient and cost effective transmission of electricity even during extreme weather conditions”, Sharma said.
The bets are high on renewable power as well. The state energy department has unveiled Odisha Renewable Energy Policy, 2016 in November, 2016, envisaging the overall renewable capacity addition target as 2,750 MW by 2022, as part of the national target of 175GW Renewable Energy capacity by 2022. Green Energy Development Corporation (GEDCOL) has commissioned a 20 MW Solar power project at Manamunda in Boudh district under the National Solar Mission (NSM).
When it comes to improving the efficiency of electricity distribution companies (discoms), Sharma is spot on. The energy department is implementing multi-faceted programmes for reducing AT&C (aggregate technical & commercial) loss and improving the efficiency of the distribution utilities. Some of the steps include 100 per cent LT billing, feeder metering, distribution transformer metering and energy audit, HVDS and LT AB cabling, installation of smart metres for all consumers above 500 kWh/month (except agricultural category consumers), LED distribution and installation of energy efficient pumps, KPI based performance monitoring and management system of loss reduction and meter replacement, ERP for metering, billing, collection, inventory and accounts management, centralised customer centres, new avenues for consumer bill payment.