I hope the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana is a success because on its success rides the fortunes of the sector and its players,” says Sambitosh Mohapatra. He joined PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in 1997 and steadily rose up the ladder. Today, he is partner, power and utilities, PwC, India. He has expertise in the areas of policy, reforms and restructuring, tariff reforms, distribution efficiency improvement, investment evaluation and development of technology blueprints for the sector. “I have been fortunate to work with clients across the private sector, government, utilities, regulators and multilateral institutions in multiple geographies including in Africa, the Middle East, and Central and South Asia,” says Mohapatra.
According to him, the progress achieved in the power sector over the past three years has been remarkable. “The renewables push and energy efficiency initiatives, along with improved distribution financials, are catching the eye of investors.” Talking about the key trends in the sector, Mohapatra says that electric vehicles and storage systems will alter traditional generation and consumption patterns. It would also be interesting to see the impact of incorporating Aadhaar in utility customer databases, conducting KYCs and managing subsidies through it.
Regarding the key challenges faced by the sector, he notes, “The pace of change in the policy and regulatory framework, along with institutional capacity across stakeholders to deal with this change, remains the main impediment for the sector. Distribution reforms need to be expedited with support from central government on capacity building of state utilities. In addition, centralised procurement of smart meters for competitive price discovery will be needed.”
Mohapatra recalls his involvement in the Odisha reforms over eight years as his most memorable assignment. Talking about his management style, Mohapatra says that he believes in setting goals and then allowing his teams to devise their own strategies to achieve them. “While I make myself available for any guidance and support, what I still need to work on is avoid jumping in early,” he says.
A disciplined diet and regular walks help Mohapatra maintain his health quotient. In his spare time, he likes to read books on religion, civilisations, wars and mythology. His family includes his parents, his wife, a daughter and twin sons. Mohapatra is an engineer from NIT Rourkela and holds a management degree in finance from XIM, Bhubaneswar.