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Rohit Chandra, CEO, OMC Power, selected as a Top Ten leader in Green Energy

Rohit Chandra, CEO OMC Power.

Leading by Passion and Perseverance

Committed to add value to the industry and lead a change in the country’s current energy portfolio Rohit Chandra co-founded OMC Power in 2011. OMC Power builds, owns, and operates power plants and smart mini-grids to serve telecom towers, businesses, and communities in rural off-grid areas. Under his leadership, the brand supplies reliable and affordable power to lakhs of people, thousands of businesses, and hundreds of telecom towers. Today, OMC Power’s Pioneering ABC model is established as the largest, and one of the most successful, mini-grid company in the world.

To know more about Rohit’s journey and the company’s contribution to the world, CEO Insights engages an exclusive interview with him.

Enumerate your educational background and professional background.I have completed my Engineering in Electronics and Communication from Aligarh Muslim University in 1986. My entry into the telecom sector was enabled by this qualification and this was at a time when the sector was just beginning. I joined Phillips in the telecommunications and data systems division at their headquarters in Mumbai. Thereafter, I have worked with Forbes & Campbell (a Tata Group company) in their communication division and subsequently, with Wandel & Goltermann GmbH as the country manager for India. I then took on leadership roles in Ericsson, Aircel, and Telenor India.

Highlight your experience and achievements that bestowed you with utmost satisfaction and helped you in the journey.

I have over 25 years of senior management experience in telecom. As COO of Telenor India, I led the efforts of launching a nationwide brand and was key to the fastest IT Infrastructure and Network roll-out in India and also set up Telenor India’s sales and distribution network, and recruited key staff for launch. As Executive Director at Aircel, I made the company into one of the fastest-growing operators in the country with 11 Mn subscribers acquired in record time. I led 3000 staff members – securing Aircel the No.1 position across several states in India. I was also EVP at Ericsson India, managing Sales & Marketing and in charge of the Technical Solutions Division – gaining the company a 42 percent share of the mobile infrastructure market.

My professional experience has been in MNCs and large Indian corporates. I have been involved in starting up two MNOs and have also managed end-to-end responsibilities in smaller corporates. This experience has helped me hone skills that are required to set up a startup as a co-founder. What has also helped in my journey so far is the ‘small company behavior’ which I have adopted as my approach. By this I mean a corporate culture that is a combination of passion, speed, agility, innovation, transparency, and a hands-on, multitasking leadership style.

As a CEO of OMC, one of the most fulfilling and proud moments has been the discovery and development of OMC’s ABC business model – an innovative business model to provide affordable access to energy to rural businesses and communities. It was very heartening to see the conversion of this idea into reality with the launch of OMC’s first plant

in July 2012 in a village called Jangaon in rural Uttar Pradesh. Since then, we have been able to scale up the model to 200 plants in India and have also expanded into Africa and Asia. I am also very proud of our partnerships with some of the most prestigious global brands like the Rockefeller Foundation and Mitsui & Co. The social and environmental impact we can make with this project gives me joy and fulfillment.

How do you manage to balance your personal & professional life?

As a co-founder and CEO, a balance is hard to achieve. It is a continuous challenge, as for me OMC is not just a job but a way of life. Amongst other things, I live to do what I do at OMC and I am passionate about it. I would like to applaud my team, which has successfully helped me lead the company from a startup to the current growth phase where the management is decentralized, business processes are stable, automation of processes has been introduced and key partnerships (such as Mitsui & Co.) have been achieved. Mitsui & Co. as our partner is deeply involved in the business. We have Mitsui team members on secondment who are now an integral part of our management team and help us drive growth. Mitsui’s support for our future expansion is key to our success. All of the above has significantly contributed to making our work lives time-efficient.

How has been the support & inspiration from your family in your journey so far?

My biggest inspiration has been my father. From him, I have learned commitment, values, relationships, and a never give up attitude. My family has been extremely supportive. While there have been many times when I have had to trade family time with work commitments, the family has been understanding and encouraging. Friends and colleagues have also been extremely supportive. I can proudly say that for me and my team OMC is not just a job, it is our passion and what we look forward to each day.

The Leader’s Role in his brand

“At OMC, I have taken up all of the above roles and more. To begin with, I have been instrumental in setting the vision and mission for the Company. I have led the company and my team from the front. The Company as it stands today is attributable to a professional and high caliber management team that I have built and have been managing. As the CEO, I see myself as the custodian of the Company’s culture and values. Therefore, I play a multi-faceted role.”

Excerpted from the interview on CEOInsights.

Read the original here

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OMC-Mitsui Covid-19 Community Outreach

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit India hard, and just as in Europe and America, the poor, especially in rural areas have been hit the hardest. India, a country of 1.3 billion people, went into a nationwide lockdown from 22nd March to 2nd June 2020, with strict enforcement of restrictive measures by Government and local administrations. All markets, shops and commercial establishments, except essential goods and service providers, were closed during the lockdown, and commute and travel severely curtailed. Moreover, a large majority of daily-wage labourers and street hawkers/vendors lost their jobs and livelihoods. Life came to a grinding halt.

In response to this unprecedented crisis, the likes of which has not been experienced in the last 100 years, the OMC team rose to the occasion to maintain uninterrupted operations across nearly 200 PV power plants and minigrid distribution networks in Uttar Pradesh, to deliver uninterrupted supply of electricity to about 200 towers and 20,000 minigrid customers. A Business Continuity Plan and SoPs tailored for the new normal were formulated and implemented by the company through the mechanism of a Crisis Management Team, with a highly responsive chain of command and simplified decision making during the pandemic.

As a distributed rural electric utility with a high-touch retail electricity business on the community side that is serviced by local personnel, OMC has deep roots in the community. It quickly became evident that the fallout of Covid-19 in our areas of operation extended beyond health and that economic distress was leading to hunger. Given the company’s large footprint in rural areas across 13 districts in India’s largest state, OMC decided to find ways of providing support through community outreach programme specifically targeted to provide essential supplies to the poorest of the poor.

The Community Outreach Program

To help rural communities whose life was becoming harder by the day, OMC launched a community outreach initiative in collaboration with our enlightened stakeholder, Mitsui &Co. Ltd, in Japan. Provisioning of basic food was identified as being an immediate and necessary succor, especially when access to food was a real challenge for the poor. The OMC team surveyed the villages in our operating areas and identified three thousand households in the areas surrounding our plants and minigrids, to be beneficiaries of the program. With an average family size of five members, the programme would provide assistance to fifteen thousand individuals.

A standardized food packet was designed by the team with inputs culled from WHO and WFP guidelines for food packages to balance nutritional content. The package was tailored for Uttar Pradesh, considering the staple diet of the area, the calorific value of the items, usefulness to locals, and considering the Covid-19 situation, access to supply.

Food Packet

In addition to food items, the package also contained soap and detergent to promote essential cleanliness and hygiene. In order to ensure timely delivery of supply, 3,000 food packets were locally source and packed while maintaining hygiene and sanitation.

Delivering the Food Assistance

The on-ground team of OMC delivered these food packets to the 3,000 most affected households within a time frame of 3-4 weeks, across 43 villages surrounding OMCs power plants. With the dedication of the teams, the food packets were reached the needing hands at the right time and we have completed the distribution by 17th of August.

Community Impact

Due to strict lockdown imposed by the government, access to other sources of aid was limited in the local community, and charities also faced limitations in reaching the impacted communities during this time. However, OMC could successfully execute the outreach program down to the bottom of the pyramid, due to the platform available to it as an essential service provider and due to its local presence in remote areas by virtue of the presence of its solar plants and staff.

The outreach program has provided much-needed immediate relief to the distressed segment of the rural society. It has also helped OMC to gain tremendous goodwill amongst the local population. It will also enable OMC-Mitsui strategic alliance to further cement its bond with rural community while conveying the underlying message of being a service provider with a heart for the community.

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