Friday, March 21, 2014

IT Services & Capacity Building from Cronos group for Utilities in India

Dr. Ralf Bauermann, Chairman,
Cronos Group
pManifold team recently had an interview with Dr. Ralf Bauermann, Chairman, Cronos Group of Companies to understand about their IT and Capacity Building solutions for Utilities in India. (The below shared are author's personal views and not to be associated with any of their company's association)
  1. Please elaborate Cronos IT solution for Utilities? (phase wise modules, current deployment stage (if any PPP / Franchisee), key features, hardware requirements, team size for setup and regular running, business engagement model (Capex vs. Opex based), next planned add-ons, etc.)
    • As a utility IT solution provider, Cronos believes in engaging the customer for successful implementation of the project and with this implementation strategy Cronos has developed template solutions for utility specific business processes like Billing (Go), CRM (Go), AMI (Go) and migration tools for reducing the implementation time by 70%. Implementation of the SAP End to End Solution in phased manner as per the Utility needs which is a key for successful implementation and continual engagement. 
    • Consulting services are adapting new approaches in reducing in time and cost of implementation to meet the urgent business requirements of utilities to increase their revenue, improve customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.Our express implementations with standard customized templates will help the consulting services team to bring utilities the best (cost and time) in mission-critical software for far less than they might have anticipated.
    • A standard set of customized templates for critical business processes for specific utility types (electric, gas, water, waste management):
      • Pre-configured software solution
      • Use pre-defined tools and approaches for integration with other client solutions
      • Out-of-the-box training materials specific to our pre-configured solutions
      • Use Change management approaches

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Peeking into the challenges in managing waste water in the tier-2/3 cities in India

In the recently organized 2nd Annual India Utility Knowledge and Networking Conference, experts discussed the Business and Technology Innovations that are the need of the hour for scaling up the Waste Water Management in the tier-2/3 cities in India.

While access to safe drinking water is one challenge that remains to be solved, a corollary and equally significant and impacting health hazard is rising from accumulating municipal & industrial waste water and its untreated disposal. The major issues impacting waste water management are -

  • Cost effective Waste Water Treatment Technology; 
  • By-products use and market development; 
  • Economics and price adoption for Industrial use of treated waste water vs. fresh water; 
  • Public Private Partnerships structuring with clear roles and responsibilities, etc. 

In most ULBs, the reforms are yet to come in. There is still no answer for what to do with recycled water post primary treatment. Often such water is released in nearby water bodies as dissolved impurities in this water can be treated only through RO technology, which is expensive. 

Consider a typical Indian tier 2/3 city with population of 100,000 and about 120-135l water/person/day.  On an average, 80% of the supplied water returns as sewage. At this rate, the city would generate 10mld of sewage per day. 

Experts suggested that installing a 10mld capacity plant with the best in country technology would cost around Rs. 100-130 million i.e. Rs.1300/person investment required. Assuming a 10yrs life of one such plant, the costs come to Rs.130/person/year. This cost plus cost to collect water, suction pump etc put together, recycled water is available at Rs.40/person/month which is about Rs.1.35/person/day. 

If the Government of India considers a country wide investment in waste water treatment, the amount to be raised by government it amounts to (Rs.1.35 x total population of India) per day, which is a huge.

Commercialization of waste water can turn out to be a very useful step in encouraging more industries involved towards treating the waste water. Out 8% of total water supplied to industry, 70% goes to power plants. For Municipal corporations, OpEx still remains an issue since the CapEx is taken care by schemes like JnNURM. Of the total OpEx, 70-80% is the power cost. Without power, it is simply garbage in- garbage out. If power cost is taken care by methods like Group Captive Power Plants (GCPP), the Sewage Treatment Plants could become financially sustainable.

In one such initiative to commercialize and reuse the waste water, Maharashtra State Power Generation Company Limited (Mahagenco) and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC), are jointly installing a 130mld Waste Water Treatment Plant in Nagpur. The NMC will allocate land and subsidy under the JnNURM program and Mahagenco will pay balance amount for project and bear opex. The recycled water would be supplied to Koradi Thermal Plant.

According to Central Pollution Control Board, in tier 2 and 3, only about 20% of total waste water is being treated. Less than 20% WWTPs are being utilized at their 100% capacity i.e.only 5-10% capacity is utilized to treat water. 

This calls for more time being spent on understanding the engineering and technology so as to make the waste water treatment business in India more viable.

This panel had participation from Jal Board, State Government,. Technology Providers and Project Developers who shared their experiences, and brainstormed to build consensus on shaping an effective and integrated PPP models in Municipal Waste Water Management.

Also read:

Mr. Ajoy Mehta shared his vision on 'Sustainability of Indian Power Distribution Utilities and further roadmap' at IUKAN 2014

Mr. Ajoy Mehta, MD,
Mr. Ajoy Mehta, MD, MSEDCL, in a recently concluded IUKAN 2014 conference shared his vision on 'Sustainability of Indian Power Distribution Utilities and further road-map'. A brief excerpt from his Vision session is shared below. (The views here are personal views, and not to be associated with any company in any forms)

There is need to create right and holistic competition in the power distribution sector, and the road-map cannot be same as followed in Telecom, as electricity is still not ‘wireless’, and differential pricing based on Value-added-Services is not allowed. In Power Distribution sector, competition should be created on customer services delivery side, and private participation in this area should be strongly encouraged. Creating competition between Discoms and private companies on Generation and Network side via mechanisms like Open Access, should be further vetted for Discom viability.

Friday, March 7, 2014

White Paper on Franchisee Operation & Open Access

While open access as a phenomenon comes as a relief to many in the power market and
particularly Big Industrial Consumers who have been making a fortune, because of this
mechanism which has been facilitating them in getting access to the abysmally low prices
prevailing in the open market over the last 2-3 years. This has also helped them gain access
to much cheaper alternate source of power which otherwise used to come from Diesel
Generators at an average rate of Rs. 16-20/Unit.

Barring a few states, most states across the country have been finding out ways and means 
to curb outgo of these Big & Paying consumers to avoid revenue loss on one end and to 
avoid embarrassment of higher T&D loss on the other, which comes parallel to outgo of big 
consumers who normally account for much lesser T&D loss and virtually no commercial