Ravindra Kumar Verma, chairman, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), has industry experience of over 38 years. He began his career as a power system planner with the CEA in 1981, later moving to grid operations where, in 1987, he designed and operated a system in the load despatch centre at the Northern Regional Electricity Board.
For the next 14 years, he was involved in managing supply to the entire northern India. It was a challenging assignment that forced him to find new reserves of stamina and discipline. Huge shortages meant that he and his team were firefighting all the time. He used to spend consecutive nights in the control room and worked in shifts for 10 years. Then, for the next four years, he worked as executive engineer, operations, and again had to work like a machine.
He rose up the ranks and worked in distribution for a while. Distribution, Verma notes, is a very important segment because it has direct interface with the consumer and, since it collects revenue from the consumer, it drives the entire power sector. Unfortunately, distribution had been neglected for a long time.
In 2001, Verma became director, in 2014 chief engineer and then in 2016, principal chief engineer, a member as well as chairman. His work spans a large range. He led the inter-ministerial central team constituted with the states for preparing state-specific documents for providing 24×7 power for all. He is chairman of the technical committee of the National Smart Grid Mission set up to evaluate detailed project reports and finalise benchmark costs. Verma has also been instrumental in finalising the functional requirements of advanced metering infrastructure, including the technical specifications of single-phase and three-phase whole current smart meters. Alongside all this very high-level work, he is equally concerned about providing connections to the last villages that are still languishing in darkness.
Verma graduated as an electrical engineer from the Delhi College of Engineering, following which he passed the Combined Engineering Services Examination conducted by UPSC for the prestigious Central Power Engineering Services in 1979. On the personal front, Verma says that he likes to spend time with his family, which comprises his wife and their sons, who are both engineers. He enjoys watching movies and walking, when time permits. He calls himself a firm believer in God and says his belief that it is God, not us, who is doing everything, is growing stronger by the day.