Energizing NDPL

DQI Bureau
New Update

North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL), a joint venture between Tata Power and the

Government of Delhi that distributes electricity in the north and northwest

areas of Delhi, is one of the few success stories of privatization in the

country. Information Technology empowerment has been a key factor enabling the

company to successfully see through this process of bringing about a paradigm

shift in power distribution as well as shedding off the legacy of being a

government set-up. Akhil Pandey, head, IT at NDPL has been there through the

entire IT evolution process in the company.


A mechanical engineer, Pandey joined NDPL seven months after it was set up in

the year 2002, after the privatization of power distribution in Delhi. A very

demanding time for him to get initiated into the company, building up virtually

the entire IT infrastructure from scratch, while also fighting the legacy of the

inherited mindset about government establishments. But, facing up to the

challenges, he has successfully turned IT into one of the key enablers for

reforms in power distribution. In his own words, he thrives on challenges:

"I constantly need new challenges and some times get bored with routine

work." Despite this he has steered clear of the job-hopping scene, so

prevalent in the IT industry. His longest stint till date lasted 26 years, with

Tata Steel.

The Tata Experience

Pandey's stint with IT began at a time when it was not at the forefront of
action and all the frantic activity, which today surrounds this segment. He

reminisces about his early days with Tisco (the erstwhile avatar of Tata Steel)

in the steel plant operations. However, one-and-a-half years down the line, he

was shifted to the computer department, or the data processing department, as it

was then called. According to Pandey, he was a little disappointed, initially,

considering that he had joined the company as an engineering graduate groomed to

be a steel operations man and foreseeing himself as a Plant Superintendent over

the next few years.

Akhil Pandey,

head IT, NDPL


"At that time IT appeared to be a small thing in comparison. The only

solace was that it was a job in a glass house and more comfortable compared to

steel operations," says Pandey. From a systems analyst to heading the IT

setup of Tata Steel, he was instrumental in putting in place some of the most

mission-critical applications, which today support the entire Tata Steel

business. At Tata Steel, Pandey formulated the enterprise wide IT strategies for

the company including all its divisions like raw materials, steel plant,

operations and marketing headquarters, regional office and branch offices. The

company was quite ahead of its time in the uptake of IT as well as in

recognizing the role of IT as a great business enabler.

Other Assignments

Pandey has effectively applied his learnings from building and managing the IT
operations for a conglomerate as huge as Tata Steel to deliver in his future

assignments. His assignments ranged from being on the vendor as well as the user

side of business. This helped him gather a better understanding and a holistic

approach towards technology implementation.

The rigors of various assignments helped in preparing him adequately to take

on the unique challenges of his present assignment. Going down the memory lane

two years, when he joined NDPL, Pandey thinks of the NDPL assignment as very

interesting, the challenge seeker that he is. "IT in power distribution is

a new ball game altogether. What makes it critical is the fact that IT

enablement in this sector has the potential to impact the end consumer

directly," he explains. Considering that NDPL is covering a population of

4.5 mn and has a consumer base of 8,35,000, the impact of the IT enablement

efforts are far-reaching and, therefore, significant in designing the IT



Going back to the early days of setting up the company's IT infrastructure,

Pandey talks about how the company inherited just 2 PCs, in terms of IT

infrastructure, with the privatization that led to the formation of NDPL. Manual

and cumbersome processes, inadequate controls, lack of reliable information,

inefficient operations coupled with substantial revenue leakages, poor customer

orientation, island of automation and non-integrated applications were some of

the pain points that he had to deal with as he began his stint with NDPL.

According to Pandey, fundamental changes were required to realize the vision

of reliable, affordable and quality power. The loss of revenue in the

distribution of power across the country is estimated to be at around Rs 40,000

crore per annum, he syas. In effect, IT was recognized as an enabler of

transformation and reforms. This, however, was not an easy task. He explains

that the initial hesitation was overcome by getting the users first hooked on to

an email messaging culture, which was relatively convenient for them, to get

them initiated into the IT culture.

Today, NDPL boasts of over 2,000 PCs, over 50 servers, mission-critical

applications, and a robust IT infrastructure that includes networking all the

zonal offices, grid stations and collection centers. Including this and some

more offices, the total number of points that have been networked is around 120.

NDPL is also in the process of setting up two data centers, primary and

secondary. The large scale of NDPL's operations spans across distributing

power to 550 sq km of Delhi with an annual load growth of 7-10%. Its

infrastructure today is robust enough to effectively handle operations at this

scale. Pandey believes his ongoing IT implementation efforts in NDPL would

improve operating structures, commercial orientation, enhance revenue, and

enhance quality of networks.


Pandey refuses to take full credit for being the change agent and admits that

the key factor behind the successful transformation is the aggressiveness and

enthusiasm with which IT is being driven by the CEO himself as well as the

company's young and dynamic team of people.

While looking forward to taking retirement from his work, to give more time

to his interests such as photography, traveling and growing organic food, Pandey

is happy for the time being cherishing the challenges that his job throws at


Shipra Arora


Personal Diary

Previous Assignments

Aug '00 TCG Software:
Responsible for total center creation, sourcing,

raising and getting the projects executed as center Head for Delhi, Mumbai and



May '98—July '00 RS Software: As COO, facilitated in planning

the strategic direction of the company. Planned and implemented the expansion,

acquiring professionals, training them and placing them on customer projects.

He also planned and implemented the total initiative of quality beyond ISO

9000 and now RS Software has been assessed SEI-CMM Level 4 certification by KPMG.

Also initiated the transformation process to prepare RS Software in line with

People Capability Maturity Model of SEI Carnegie Melon

Sept '96—Apr '98 TCS: As vice president, TCS eastern zone,

India, responsible for total profit center management for the eastern zone, with

Kolkata as the center. The Kolkata branch was upgraded to 'A' Class status

during his tenure


Apr '94-Aug '98 Essar group: As group CIO planned and implemented,

successfully, the concept of total outsourcing of IT services for all major

business units including the corporate office at Bombay. This was the first

outsourcing deal with IBM. Conceptualised and implemented Office Automation for

paper-less office

Jan '70-Apr '94 Tata Steel: As head of IT developed the

Information Systems plan and IT architecture for the company, directed the

planning and implementation of an integrated applications architecture; and

managed installation of the LAN and the WAN.

He also conceptualised and interfaced with the architects to build

development centers to house new computers and professionals. Managed a

development team of over 500 software professionals with the entire

responsibility of acquiring, training and managing large integrated projects


  • Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from XLRI,


  • Post Graduate Diploma in Mechanical, Electrical and

    Metallurgy from Technical Institute, Jamshedpur

  • Bachelor of Engineering, Mechanical, from RIT, Jamshedpur

Mantras for NDPL

  • Enable the core business operations with Information Systems

    for sustainable reforms

  • World-class practices and controls at the operations level

    for sustainable improvements

  • Information Technology to become the key enabler of the

    initiatives under the reform process

  • Use IT as a strategy to improve commercial and operational

    performance in distribution

Ongoing Implementations at NDPL

  • Operating Structures

  • Commercial Orientation

  • Overall Customer Orientation

  • Transparency in Operation

  • Enhancing Revenue

  • Reducing Losses

  • Enhance Quality of Networks

Family: Two daughters

Hobbies: Photography, music, playing golf, trekking.