C.N. Singh is a seasoned professional with four decades of experience in the thermal power segment, with a 25-year stint at NTPC Limited. He took over as chief executive officer of Vedanta Limited, Jharsuguda, in 2019. Prior to this, he was chief operating officer at Talwandi Sabo Power Limited. Besides, he has held leadership roles at some of India’s leading power companies including Essar Power, JSW Energy and Sterlite Energy.
As such, he has a 360, degree view of the sector. He believes that the Indian growth story is very strong and power demand will gradually recover to near-pre-Covid levels with the government’s economy-boosting interventions. Overall, he sees demand falling by a small margin of 3-5 per cent in 2020-21. Economic activity should bounce back by 2021-22, leading to growth in power demand. A positive development during the crisis was coal auctions to private players; this should boost fresh investment, Singh believes. With a revival in discom financials, the sector will, moreover, witness a turnaround and attract investments across the value chain. A slew of reforms announced by the government, such as the Rs 900 billion stimulus package and the revamp of the Electricity Act, 2003, will help address key concerns. Also, private players leveraging technologies in the thermal power segment will emerge more competitive owing to improved efficiency. On the supply side, renewable energy, green power corridors, interregional connectivity and smart grid initiatives have increased confidence in the sector.
Going ahead, Vedanta plans to ramp up and operationalise its entire installed capacity. It plans to convert its existing IPP units to CPPs, besides exploring captive renewable generation in its existing plants.
Singh’s most memorable assignment has been the turnaround of the stressed Firoz Gandhi Unchahar (now NTPC Unchahar) plant in 1992 and the commissioning of Stage II with 90 per cent PLF during the median year of operation. Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam later penned this case study in his book, which is extremely valuable for Singh. Singh believes in his team’s abilities and enjoys working as an enabler and driver. A performance-oriented work culture with engagement, involvement, empowerment and transparency, and a keen focus on goals is his mantra. He likes to spend his spare time in pursuit of knowledge and is an ardent reader of books by eminent scholars such as Michael Porter, C.K. Prahlad, Ram Charan and Sumantra Ghoshal.