Women in Energy

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Anjuli Chandra
Member, Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Ms. Anjuli Chandra, a Member at Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission(PSERC), is a former CPES cadre officer and Ex Principal Chief Engineer, CEA.
She is a gold medalist in Electrical Engineering from Thappar Institute of Engg and Technology and MBA Finance from Punjabi University, Patiala. She is a certified Energy auditor from Bureau of Energy Efficiency. During her stint at CEA, she worked around Renewable energy sources, power survey and load forecasting, power system monitoring, project appraisal and Distribution planning & Development. Prior to that, she served as the Executive Director Tariff & Engineering for Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. In 2006 she was awarded by Central Board of Irrigation and Power for meritorious contribution to Power sector and in the year 2012, she was awarded for contribution of Women to Power sector by the National Council of Power utilities. Apart from her many contributions in power sector she was remained advisor cum consultant to the State of Jammu and Kashmir for APDRP programme of GOI. She has planned the Distribution system of Jammu urban area and Srinagar. She has also planned the SubTransmission and Distribution system of Thimpu and Paro cities of Bhutan under the aegis of Ministry of Power and Ministry of External affairs GOI. She has prepared the 19th Electrical Power survey report of CEA which is the base document for perspective planning of power sector for the next 20 years.

How have your education and career path led you to where you are now? What excites you the most about your entire journey until present date as the Member, PSERC?

I joined CEA in Dec 1979 after qualifying the IES exam. My stint in Punjab state Electricity board gave me a lot of insight into field level working of a Distribution utility. Thereafter on return to CEA, working in the Distribution planning and development Division of CEA gave me a comprehensive knowledge of what is happening in Distribution sector in all the States in the Country. I was associated with the APDRP programme of GOI and I assisted in preparing the Guidelines for development of Sub Transmission and Distribution system. I also worked for the State of J&K for development of Sub transmission and distribution systems in the State. All this exposure to the Distribution sector helped me tremendously in my assignment as Executive Director Engineering with additional charge of Tariff in Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission. I also remained Chief Engineer Transmission monitoring, Generation monitoring and Renewable energy Source which gave me an insight into each and every facet of power sector.

I got the opportunity of being Member of many task forces and Committees set up by CEA, CERC and Ministry of Power & Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. I have remained Chairperson of ETD13 Committee of BIS for framing Standards for Meters. I have also remained as Independent Director on the Board of Haryana Vidut Prasaran Nigam and Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam. I have been faculty for many training courses and programmes for power sector professionals and that gave me a lot of satisfaction. My experience in Diistribution and Regulatory sector helped me in becoming member PSERC. The entire journey with has been very fulfilling and rewarding. I have been supported in my endeavours by seniors, colleagues and family.

How can the power sector (which has been traditionally male-dominated) improve on its gender diversity, i.e., have better representation of women and girls at all levels and especially in the area of system operation?

The sector has been male dominated because not enough women are joining the sector and where ever they have, the organisations have not done enough to support and retain them. In fields like power, where women have been traditionally underrepresented, looking at career entry points is important. It needs to be recognised that, unless women are interested in a field, they are unlikely to enter it, build a career, and reach the highest levels. We need more women with the right educational backgrounds. More women need to become engineers and technicians and the power sector needs to support this. The companies should allow the women to work in field level jobs including system operation. The companies/ corporations in the power sector must work proactively think of creating an inclusive work culture, overcoming bias and giving them room to grow. They also need to support aspiring women through mentoring, career planning, training and supportive networks. Flexible work schedules and childcare provisions may also help women balance work and family demands. Women also need to stop holding themselves back and just go for it.