K.M. Shringarpure took over as chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission (GERC) in 2015. He has experience of over 35 years in the power, manufacturing and banking sectors, and held several key positions in the Gujarat Electricity Board (GEB) before joining GERC. He has served in four discoms as director and has been a member of various committees. He was actively involved in the financial re-engineering of GEB as well as in the formation and resolution of tax issues of seven corporate entities following the demerger of GEB. He was also additional director of the Gujarat Energy Training and Research Institute.
According to Shringarpure, the power sector is characterised by increasing private sector participation, better quality of supply and consumer-friendly services. The power deficit has been narrowed successfully and fuel availability has improved. The government has taken several positive policy initiatives such as the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana for discom revival, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy’s national-level programme for promoting rooftop solar systems, the resolution of coal block allocation issues and the transfer of mining leases, the utilisation of gas-based capacity, the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2015 for separation of carriage and content, tariff rationalisation and smart grids. However, there is still scope for improvement.
Noting the key challenges faced by the sector, he says, “The distribution segment is the weakest link in the power supply value chain, wherein the discoms are under tremendous financial stress. This is due to the high AT&C losses, rampant power theft, absence of cost-reflective tariffs, lack of an automatic pass-through mechanism, delays in filing of true-up petitions, inadequate cross-subsidy surcharge, fuel uncertainty, absence of long-term PPAs, etc.” Similarly, the generation and transmission segments too are facing many challenges.
Recalling his most memorable assignment, he says, “Successfully managing GEB when it faced an acute shortage of working capital and reluctance from lenders to extend financial assistance was the most challenging task.”
Shringarpure follows a daily routine of a brisk walk and swimming in order to maintain a healthy work-life balance. In his spare time, he enjoys watching cricket and listening to classical Marathi and Hindi music. His family includes his wife, who is a banker, and their two sons.