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Getting to Know Rahul Pandey: Expert in the Utility Management Community - [an Energy Central Power Perspectives™ Expert Interview]

Posted to Energy Central in the Utility Management Group
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Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

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  • Mar 9, 2020 6:30 pm GMT
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The utility industry continues its march into the future in a fast-moving, evolving nature. Whether it’s smart technologies, digitization, or new infrastructure investments, the decisions by those being made at the top of the chain in utilities are become more impactful and critical to get right. The professionals at utilities need to wear multiple hats and be adept in varied areas of expertise to make these decisions, but with the Utility Management Community of Energy Central you are not alone in that regard.

A key asset when referencing the Utility Management Community to stay current on relevant issues and ensure you have all the information is our top regarded network of experts, filled with community members who have spent years and years in the industry and found themselves at positions of influence within their organization. These Utility Management experts are at your disposal, providing indispensable content, sharing answers to your questions, and more. To help you recognize the immense value of these experts, we continue with a new entry into the Power Perspectives™ “Getting to Know Your Experts” interview series featuring Rahul Pandey, Principal Consultant of Business Process Services at Tech Mahindra and Utility Management Expert:

Disclaimer: The views and opinions here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the statement or position of any associate of the Tech Mahindra.   

Matt Chester: Thanks Rahul, first of all, for being an expert and for committing your time to participating in this interview series. Our audience has really enjoyed getting to know the background of the expert network that’s available to them on Energy Central, so to kick things off I’d love if you could give a broad overview of your role in the industry and how you got to this point where you’re considered an expert in the field. What path did you take and what are you working on these days?

Rahul Pandey: I have been working in the energy industry for over a decade and my area of interest is utilities, both electric and gas. Throughout my professional journey, I have gained immense knowledge and broadened the customer centric framework on how technology is evolving the energy sector and also how it converged to provide results beyond our imagination. It’s all about energy at this digital decade. Through my experiences over delivered projects and new innovative protocols, I have been influencing industry and organizations shaping towards the path of digitization and automation to be value driven. I am now focused on helping business through technology consulting on various sectors infusing Geographical Information System (GIS) solutions and future trends to achieve more reliability and Return on Investment (ROI) in the business.

In recent days, I have been putting myself more on research on ‘’how to meet current and future energy demands for the world’’ whether it’s through situational awareness programs for efficient T&D operations, Enhanced Community Renewables (ECR), or decarbonization to bring the structural reforms. Furthermore, I have published some of my views through various articles and would like to contribute additional knowledge through my work and continue to keep learning and sharing where the technological advances will take us. I am overwhelmed to be a part of this energy revolution and happy that I could do something from my side joining hands with other experts out there.

Primarily, I familiarized myself with emerging technology in the energy and utility space from the past couple of years by interacting with utility industry thought leaders through various professional and social media platforms and attended several conferences and webinars to enhance my knowledge. As a technology evangelist, I’m providing technical support and customer advocacy and currently focused on developing technology agnostics solutions which integrate information technology (IT) / operational technology (OT) convergence; GIS mapping; work & asset management; and mobility requirements for electric, gas, and water utilities that enable energy & utilities to streamline operations, providing greater visibility and control of core business processes.

 

MC: In your experience in the utility industry, what’s been the hardest part about shifting the thinking of utility leaders to embrace new tools like automation, Internet of Things, etc.?

RP: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Internet of Things (IoT) are exciting! However the hardest part could be how it’s going to disrupt the industry or impact other sectors without compromising the power of human judgment in case of complex manufacturing processes, command and control center operation, AI-powered autonomous vehicles where you’re expected to meet highest level of accuracy - precisely ‘’A zero error tolerance’’ policy and how consumers are going to adopt it. Technology evolution is never ending, hence I would say it’s all about how we control the usage of automation and IoT based on our requirements and lead it to progress in a better way for an industrialist to embrace them.

Utility Industry have seen a lot of technological advancements in the recent past such as Grid Modernization, Advanced Distribution Management System (ADMS), and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). Utilities are expected to see more changes in the next 5 years than they have seen in the last 100 years. These new market dynamics will require them to transform and to transform fast. They will face challenges of higher performance, greater scalability, more sophisticated transaction mechanisms and full cross-platform capability with the growth of IoT, cloud and mobile applications. In fact, the world has been squashed into our hands, means gripping onto anything using mobile applications which are happening in GIS industry right now. Geospatial solutions and service providers betting on mobile technologies for an enormous digital move, especially succeeding in mobile mapping which is saving time and cost. This tendency from Esri and Google Earth apps is helping us capture and analyze the data anytime and anywhere instantly.

‘’A holistic view is key’’ in shifting the thinking of utility leaders to embrace new tools and technology. A strategic GIS investments today is required to ensure efficient data management services across utility’s network infrastructure, IT, and OT systems while shaping the geospatial landscapes of the future. As data quality improvement initiatives, grid modernization programs via network model management, services-based implementations are just a few of the areas where operators have been investing funds. Therefore, I see a greater scope to utilize breadth of Modern GIS – which gives ‘’A System of Insight’’.

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MC: As we’ve just started into this new decade, what do you see as the most exciting trend you expect to come to the energy sector in the 2020s? On the other side, is there a trend that has you worried?  

RP: I’m enthusiastic about blockchain, AI and machine learning (ML), Cloud Computing, and IoT. In essence, blockchain has set the trend in energy market and is projected to grow at more than 50% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) from 2019 to 2025. There are many visible business use cases by energy companies in smart grid and data management for digital customer experience.

 Let me touch base some of these: AI and ML has become prominent tools addressing Energy consumption behavior & likelihood of asset malfunctions;'' Cloud Computing is the quickest path to new business models and software upgrades; blockchain could manage the data and trigger the production and will play a tremendous role transforming the business which we can’t bet upon; and IoT helps create new value, such as improved customer engagement and smart grid optimization. I envision three exciting trends that are all set to revolutionize energy sector in the 2020s include customer centricity, DER integration, and outage management system (OMS) solutions.

There is a growing concern both for customers and industry about more frequent power outages which is becoming more expensive for the vast majority of businesses. This includes lost productivity, manufacturing disruptions, damaged inventory and lost sales, the majority of which are not recoverable. Potentially even more damaging is the impact of outages on customer confidence, which can also negatively impact an organization’s future revenue. Disturbingly, S&C’s 2018 State of Commercial & Industrial Power Reliability report found 18% of companies experienced a loss of more than $100,000 as a result of their worst outage, while half of customers endured outages lasting more than one hour during 2017. Hence, doesn’t it make sense to predict the future and invest beforehand on the technologies to shun cost and time instead of investing huge millions after destruction?

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MC: What advice would you give to new and young professionals in the utility industry if they want to have a successful career and carve out a path like yours in promoting innovation and evolution in the sector?

RP: I have learned in my professional and personal endeavor that dreams become reality when your passion meets persistence. Hence "Follow your passion – But something larger than yourself," "Always give your 100%," and "Be true to yourself". Failure at some point is inevitable! So, a setback is never a bad experience, but just a learning curve. The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures rather than putting that same energy into another opportunity never ceases to amaze me. As, Richard Branson quotes ‘’Never look back in regret -- move on to the next thing’’. 

 

MC: You’ve been a great promoter and cheerleader for the Energy Central community since becoming an expert. I was hoping you could explain what it is you think is so valuable about the Energy Central community and why you’re so passionate about it? How do you benefit from the platform and what value do you hope you bring to our community?

RP: Energy Central is a huge platform for an energy and utility professional like me and I could say that it’s the only community that provides opportunity to share expertise and let them communicate in their own perspective. Learning from each other is good and soothing. It’s solely a knowledge sharing network and even paves way to budding energy professionals to absorb the key trends and challenges of energy sector. My journey with Energy Central started since May of 2018 and I have been an expert for Digital Utility and Utility Management Community Groups. I helped these communities grow and engage by sharing my knowledge and experience with other members of the site through writing articles such as Empowering Utility Business Systems, Changing Landscape of Utility Industry, Optimizing Utility’s Spatial Investments, and Revolutionizing Utilities -  Emerging Trends 2019.

I am honored to be a part of this platform as a ‘’Community Ambassador’’ too and look forward to continued participation within Digital Utility and Utility Management communities and learning from other experts and industry leaders through their shared insights!     


 

Thanks to Rahul for participating in the “Energy Central Power Perspectives™: Getting to Know Your Expert” interview series and for dedicating his time and energy to our community.

The other expert interviews that we’ve completed in this series can be read here, and if you are interested in becoming an expert then you can reach out to me or you can apply here.

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Audra Drazga's picture
Audra Drazga on Mar 13, 2020

Rhaul,  

Thanks for all your help over the years, for your insightful articles, and for your help in growing the community.  I have truly enjoyed working with you and looking forward to an exciting 2020.

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