India must take giant strides to expand domestic manufacturing and create global impact: Gautam Seth, HPL Electric & Power
HPL Electric & Power is a formidable name in the electrical industry with an ever-expanding range of products & services divided into Metering Solutions, Switchgears, Modular Switches, LED Lighting and Wires & Cables. A technology-driven company to the core, HPL provides cutting-edge technology products and solutions to the domestic as well as international markets. HPL has redefined electronic metering in the country. In LV Switchgear, its CCMS based IoT technology can control streetlights with a click of a button. HPL’s recently introduced ‘seven wonders of lighting’ is truly a path-breaking innovation. In an exclusive interview with P.K. Balasubbramaniian, Gautam Seth, Jt. Managing Director, HPL portrays the big picture of the Indian electrical industry now poised to grow at a fast pace, and the R & D efforts his company is making to stay ahead as a trendsetter and a trailblazer in the firmament of the electrical and power sector. Excerpts:
Q. Is everything hunky-dory with the electrical scene in India? Is the country geared to bridge the gap between demand and supply?
The electrical scenario in India is changing rapidly. Now every electrical gadget is getting more technology-friendly and smarter. Like the Electric Vehicle market has grown, the smart metering approach is applied in most of the states of India.
Presently, India is gearing up to develop its electrical infrastructure to stand out in the global market. The major push is being given to the power sector now. Despite this, the Government is trying to transform its traditional grid into a smart grid. The Government schemes like Make in India, UDAY, R-ADRP and many more are providing financial support to the DISCOMS. The economy plays a major role in bridging the gap between demand and supply; so it needs to grow at a fast and sustained pace.
Q. What are the dynamics of the power sector today?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, overall power investment in the world is set to decline to 2021. Higher shares of renewable have been stripped during the lockdown because of low performing cost and priority access to networks. In India, electricity demand has increased rapidly. Therefore, the Government of India is focusing on attaining the ‘Power for All’ method which has accelerated capacity addition in the country.
Many issues and trends are impacting today’s power industry. These are:
- Transmission and distribution equities are giving way to more interspersed approaches.
- New power generation technologies mobilizing green hydrogen produced through renewable power.
- Covid-19 pandemic, climate change and altering demographics highlight an industry where management of the grid is becoming more targeted and localized.
Q. You are at the forefront of energy metering. What is the size of the market and how do you expect it to grow?
The power sector is crucial for the economic growth and welfare of nations. India’s power sector is one of the most varied in the world. As the electric revolution is taking place, demand and supply for electricity are increasing; size of the market is also increasing. The global smart electricity meter is segmented into the commercial, residential and industrial sector. The electric market is expected to grow in the coming years. For this, India must take giant strides to expand production and domestic manufacturing. The main point is that if the raw material is processed in India itself then it will make a global impact.
Q. What are the opportunities, challenges and future of smart metering in India?
Covid-19 pandemic has emphasized the importance of smart meter installation in India considering the benefits during the lockdown period.
Smart metering has many benefits such as:
- Operational benefits: Smart metering helps in the reduction of power theft and also eliminates the need for an on-site meter reading.
- Security benefits: This augments enhanced monitoring of system resources.
- Customer benefits: Smart meter helps customers to save money and manage their energy consumption.
While there are formidable advantages of smart meters, there are some potential security challenges. Privacy breach to state-sponsored cyber attacks is mostly seen. To tackle this challenge, enhanced security protocols, advanced encryption and management system should be designed for smart meter grid. Smart metering now-a-days is becoming the new norm in the power sector.
Q. How does smart metering help in making the power distribution sustainable and efficient?
The smart meter is the future of the power sector and it also serves as an interface between the consumer and the utility company. Smart meters have low operational cost. They are time-saving and online bill payment is also allowed. In the whole power sector value chain, distribution is the most essential link between utilities and the customers. Smart metering helps in making power distribution sustainable and efficient by integrating with renewable, it is transparent, improved customer service, 24×7 power supply and reduces power theft. In a smart distribution system, smart meters play a crucial role in collecting data and enhancing the awareness of system operators. The smart meter provides distribution operators with real-time monitoring of data.
Smart metering makes the power distribution sustainable through:
- Automatic customer billing
- State estimation of the distribution system
- Remote connect/disconnect
- Load modeling and forecasting
Q. What are the technological innovations you showcase and envisage in smart metering?
HPL has been at the forefront of supplying smart meters in the Indian market. The company has one of the widest portfolios of meters in India. HPL has a whole range of metering solution with advanced technology. The company’s research and development capabilities encompass design and development of all types of energy metering solutions. This includes interactive communication between the metering device and metering infrastructure that include Advanced meter reading (AMR) and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), prepayment metering solutions, smart meter with two-way communication. The company’s portfolio of meters includes three phase and LTCT/HT energy meter, panel meters, prepayment meters and net metering solution. In this way, we are making our smart metering technology more innovative and more sophisticated.
Q. Smart meter helps the nation save energy. How do you think the Govt. should incentivise and support indigenous manufacturing?
The covid-19 pandemic has somehow hindered the rapid implementation of smart meters. Now the Government’s biggest concern should be the worsening financial situation of state distribution companies. For this, the Government has to make a program that digitizes the complete distribution chain. There is a need to establish a manufacturing base of smart electricity meters. For all these steps, the Government needs to promote indigenous and local manufacturing. Proper planning of policies with good incentives can increase the global manufacturing index of India. For this, proper vision and focus on domestic production, expanding the supply chain network, developing logistics and supply chain and improving the quality of our product would build up demand for products with the ‘Made in India’ label in the global market.
Q. You are also one of the pioneering manufacturers of LV switchgear. How do you keep yourself in step with the latest developments in this sphere?
Our company is the oldest manufacturer of switchgear in India. HPL has introduced LV and PV switchgear. They range to cater to the demand for the renewable power sector up to 1500 volt DC. HPL also gratify products like ATS, MCCB and microprocessors. These products provide better quality which is targeted to transform manufacturers, servo manufacturers, power distribution and contractors.
We have done the latest development in LV switchgear and our innovative products are made to international standards. Our products like CCMS based on IoT technology can control the streetlights with a click of a button.
HPL has launched a variety of modern switchgear solutions like:
- Insulators- 3-Pole and 4-Pole insulator in AC and DC voltage.
- MCCB distribution panel – Reliable and safe for industrial, residential and commercial application.
- Safe DCMCB’s – which provide voltage up to 1000V DC.
- RCBO- which comes in 2-Pole 2 modules and 2-Pole 4 Modules, 4- Pole 4 Modules and 4-Pole 8 Modules.
Q. What are your recent achievements in the area of lighting?
HPL has launched the latest energy products range mainly in metering solutions including smart meters, lighting and switchgear. HPL has recently launched seven wonders of lighting that primarily focuses on retail consumers.
These lights can be connected wirelessly, are maintenance-free, have a compact and sleek design, can be remotely controlled and also provide longer shelf life. HPL’s latest lighting range includes Double sidewall light, Decor side wall light, Zoom light, Decor single side wall light, Linear light, Low Bay light, 4-in -1 Smart Battens and Downlighters.
Q. You have also come up with some path-breaking products in your wire and cables range. Could you update us on this?
HPL Electrical and Power caters to four types of wire and cable product range. These include domestic and industrial wire, data networking transmission wire, special control and instrumentation wire and specialty cable.
In these categories, there are different products which are as follows:
- Domestic and industrial wire: This includes flame insulated cables, zero halogens, multi-core and submersible cable.
- Data networking transmission wire: This includes telephone cable, networking cable and coaxial cable.
- Specialty cable: This includes a fire alarm cable which is a fire retardant and consists of two more electrical conductors.
Q. May we know more about your R & D setup and achievements and recognitions received if any?
HPL is India’s leading electrical equipment manufacturer with a proven track record of over four decades in the Indian electrical industry. HPL Electric and Power has established new Research and Development Centers. These centers are located at its manufacturing facility in Gurugram, Haryana. This facility is aimed to integrate recent improvements in smart technologies.
With this, HPL Electric and Power has a substantial presence in the overseas market. As a result of our rigorous R & D, we are able to come up with world-class products for the domestic and as well as international market. We are also committed to Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
Q. Have you implemented smart technologies and industry 4.0 in your manufacturing?
We have explored IoT and communication-based technologies for power sector equipment. HPL Electric and Power has also implemented smart technology and industry 4.0 in our manufacturing. We have launched the latest energy-efficient product range mainly in metering solutions including smart meters, switchgear and lighting. Like we have launched smart meters with NB-IoT (Narrowband-Internet of Things) technology, Ebrit panel meters – single line cost-effective LED display meter, Power Factor controller- microprocessor-based intelligent auto-switching. In this way somewhere we are trying to implement smart technologies in our products so that we can stand out in the electrical market. Industry 4.0 will alter the whole manufacturing process, from the architecture and organisational structure to products, services and business models along with the value chain.
Q. What are your growth strategies and what’s your vision for HPL?
HPL is working constantly to grow in the electrical equipment industry and in the future aspires to spread its wings in the lighting and solar industry. Recently, we have introduced a variety of solar products using the latest technology and design. HPL has introduced seven wonders of LED lighting which consist of the latest technology and innovations. To deliver the best to our consumers we undertake research and development to constantly upgrade our products and services. In the upcoming years, we seek to be the trendsetters of the Indian electrical industry.