The Ministry of Power is in charge of the power industry in India. The country has the fourth largest total energy consumption in the world; 1.052 terawatt-hours (TWh) (India Brand Equity Foundation 2015). Companies are divided into generation, transmission, and distribution segments of the industry.
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There are central, state, and private levels under the production division, with each sector giving companies different opportunities for involvement. The primary sector, also referred to the public sector undertakings (PSUs), makes up 29.78 per cent of the industry in terms of total installed capacity.
State-level corporations whose mandate is limited to particular states contribute 41.10 per cent of India’s electricity while private sector enterprises command 29.11 per cent of the industry.
Maharashtra leads in electricity generation among all the Indian states. The country has a total electricity demand projection of 950,000 MW by the year 2030. Power sources in India are thermal, hydroelectric, nuclear, and alternate sources.
Thermal sources contribute about 65 per cent of the total production, followed by hydroelectric sources at 22 per cent and nuclear sources at 3 per cent. The private sector in India generates electricity from coal, gas, and diesel as the primary thermal sources.
Coal is the most popular thermal source, accounting for about 57 per cent of the total electricity generated. Gas and diesel generated electricity have about 8 per cent and 0.6 per cent of the thermal share respectively. The Power Grid Corporation of India transmits about half of the total long distance bulk power in the country.
It operates an interconnected transmission system in five main regions, namely northern, eastern, southern, northeastern, and western regions.
Identification and descriptions of the structure of the industry
The Indian energy sector is highly regulated. The power industry consists of regulatory authorities that demand flexibility and compliance to rules from the industry participants.
PESTLE Analysis of the Indian Power Sector
The government policy on the power sector focuses mainly on urban centres, with rural centres relying on special budgetary interventions to receive state-sponsored resources for electricity distribution. The present setup of the industry leaves the government annual budget as the main funds’ source.
On the other hand, India has state governments that charge different power tariffs to distributors. Companies in the industry have to grapple with various pricing regimes.
The state government and national governments offer subsidies to companies engaged in electrification as part of a policy to increase electricity access to all the citizens in India (Sharma, Nairb & Balasubramanianc 2005).
Investments in transmission and distribution have been few, causing the country to rely on old transmission lines. Consequently, India suffers electricity losses due to transmission that reaches 28.44 per cent of the total transmitted power.
Subsidy power arrangements allow state governments to offer affordable power to some sections under their jurisdiction, and then have industries and private consumers paying for the deficit created by the subsidy. However, the arrangement presents financial challenges for state electricity boards when they are unable to meet their targets.
India has a population of more than 1.2 billion people, with most of them being under 65 years of age. They have varied work attitudes, income distribution, and education qualifications. The country provides a favourable cultural environment for investment with a small pension burden compared to most developed countries.
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Electricity transmission relies on Alternating Current (AC) technology, but recent developments in the interconnection of regional grids relied on high-voltage direct current (HVDC) technology.
India has legal statutes enacted to encourage competition in the electricity sector. The current provisions include open access to the transmission and distribution network, and the recognition of power trading as a distinct activity as presented in the Electricity Act 2003.
The act also offers a liberal definition of a captive generating plant. It has special provisions that affect organizations dealing with electricity supply in the rural areas. The government issues license to private power generators and distributors to complement its work. The licenses provide a legal basis for doing business.
India has started implementing an environmental pollution-rating program for firms operating in the energy sector. The inaugural report shows that the sector as a whole performs dismally. The average score for the sector was 23 per cent, despite the fact that it was possible for it to score as much as 80 per cent.
The contributing factors to the high level of pollution, especially for thermal power generation, include the inefficient use of resources and prevalent characteristics of technological backwardness.
They lead to high levels of pollution because they violate most of the parameters used by environmental agencies in India to measure the environmental friendliness aspects of any firm (Center for Science and Environment India 2015).
Given that most Indian power plants operate at 60-70 per cent efficiency, environmentalists call for 100 per cent utilization of existing firms so that there is no need to develop new plants to fill the current electricity deficit in the country (Center for Science and Environment India 2015).
Reasons for the current industry structure and possible future structure
The Indian power industry was vertically integrated prior to 2003. It still exhibits forms of the vertical integration, where state-affiliated companies deal with power generation, transmission, distribution, and trading.
The industry’s value chain moves from electricity generators to the distributors, who rely on both high capacity and low capacity transmission options to cover markets. Consumers then connect to the power grid and pay for electricity usage on a monthly or a yearly basis.
In the future, much of the production of electricity and distribution will be in the hands of private sector players, as the major public enterprises enter into joint production initiatives and the private sector players improve their capacities for production and distribution.
Analysis of the Contribution of Each Sector
The power sector is an important contributor to the gross domestic product in any country. Reliance on inexpensive power ensures that the cost of producing goods and services remains slow; therefore, prices for commodities in an economy remain affordable.
At the same time, the cost of production is a major contributor to the competitiveness of industries. With affordable and reliable power, the products manufactured in India have a competitive advantage over products made in other parts of the world that lack a comparative advantage in power generation and distribution (Gillespie 2014).
Unfortunately, in the case of India, the rate of increase in the supply of electricity has not caught up with the increase in demand. The Indian economy grew at a rate of around 8-9 per cent in the past few years. Similarly, power production and distribution have been increasing, thanks to the efforts of state agencies and private companies.
Despite the increase, the primary consumers of power are commercial enterprises and industries. Little power remains for distribution to the rural areas. Consequently, the development of infrastructure and other electricity-reliant businesses have been in the developed urban and semi-urban parts of the country.
The power sector in India continues to drive economic growth, but it lags behind when it is compared to other developing countries. India has one of the lowest per capita consumption of electricity in the world (Reliance Power 2015).
Current power deficit (year 2013 – 2014) is 4.5 per cent, which is a marked reduction from 9.5 per cent in 2010 – 2011. It is also a significant improvement brought about by the increased capacity of both state-affiliated power producers and private companies in the industry (India Brand Equity Foundation 2015).
The National Thermal Power Company
The following part of the report discusses the National Thermal Power Company (NTPC) sustainability, targets, and organizational business plan in relation to various business frameworks and theories of strategic management. It also includes the effects of government sustainability targets on the company (Henry 2011).
The National Thermal Power Company is an electricity utility company operating in the energy sector in India. It strives to transform lives as its primary value proposition. It also seeks to be the best company in the country, such that potential employees would want to work in NTPC.
The company is in the segment that deals with agencies that are seeking to buy electricity. It targets state-owned electricity boards and attempts to position itself as the cheapest power supplier in India.
Although NTPC started as a thermal only power generator, it increased its portfolio to include hydroelectric power generation. The company is a major central public sector enterprise in India recognized for its competitive business approaches, despite the fact that it is a public institution (Srinivasan 2004).
The main competitors for the National Thermal Power Company are Reliance Energy and Tata power.
NTPC has an employee-friendly work environment that allows it to attract and retain the best-qualified staffs to assist it in developing competitive capabilities in the Indian electricity industry. The company is also efficient in the production of power, compared to the national average rate of efficiency (Srinivasan 2004).
In addition, it runs a fully integrated project management system that allows it to keep costs low and to provide reliable and stable power to its consumers. The company has been in the industry for decades. The experience gained so far allows its management and leadership to make appropriate long-term strategic plans.
Moreover, the company enjoys the backing of the central government, which has an ownership stake in it. Lastly, NTPC has maintained an excellent record of efficient and timely completion of projects over the past few years (Behera, Dash & Farooquie 2010).
Much of the electricity generated by NTPC comes from non-renewable energy sources. Therefore, the company continues to deplete raw materials by the virtue of its operations.
In addition, its affiliation with the central government of India places it at the risk of government interventions that can cause disruptions or reduce its competitive advantages. The company is also subject to electricity pricing regulations provided in the Electricity Act 2003 (Srinivasan 2004).
The existing electricity demand surpasses the current generation capacity. Moreover, the trend will continue in the future, which leaves enough room for the current generating companies like NTPC to increase their production capacities to enjoy better economies of scale and associated profitability gain (Economic Times 2015).
The experience of NTPC in the Indian electricity industry places it in an excellent position to offer commercial consultancy services to governments and private organizations that handle policy formulation and enforcement tasks. NTPC has options to advance its power generation focus to new sources, such as wind and solar.
It can also rely on improved technologies to enhance its production efficiencies in thermal and hydroelectric generation (Tiwari, Hasan & Islam 2013).
The rise in the cost of production influenced by fuel supply prices and regulatory changes can affect NTPC’s profitability and growth prospects negatively (Prasad 2012).
The increased involvement of private firms in power generation threatens to limit growth opportunities for NTPC, given that it relies on thermal sources for most of its power while the competitors offer cleaner power at the same price range for the consumers.
Increased environmental activism in India and the world can influence policy changes that may lead to an increase in the demand for renewable power, thus placing NTPC in a disadvantaged position.
The resource-based view (RBV) is a basis of competitive advantage that firms follow. RBV calls for the application of a range of tangible and intangible internal resources that the firm has access to both in the short-term and the long-term.
It is applicable to all companies and useful in evaluating the competitive positioning of NTPC. Several unique capabilities of NTPC are identifiable using RBV. They contribute to the firm’s overall performance after the liberalization of the energy sector in India.
NTPC has eight renewable power projects. It employs more than 24,000 employees in its 39 power generation projects and overall company operations departments. Presently, it has an installed capacity of 43,803 MW (Srinivasan 2004).
The company has the largest power utility in India and provides about 20 per cent of the total installed capacity. Its core resources include its established electricity generation plants, its employees, and its financial reserves.
The other resources are its present power-purchase agreements with various states and its research and development partnerships with different institutions. At the same time, NTPC carries out various corporate social responsibility projects with other organizations, which allow it to meet its overall brand reputation growth goals.
The company relies on a comprehensive recruitment process, review of project feasibilities, and collaboration with technology and regulatory partners on its various sites for project implementation to develop its internal resources.
It also relies on its core capital reserves to develop a new generation capacity, which allow it to remain the largest power producer in India.
The company has built up remarkable experience, with the capabilities of providing consultancy services that differentiate it from its competitors in terms of attractiveness for joint-venture projects with foreign and local organizations (Hunt & Ivergard 2007).
NTPC is investing in renewable energy, in addition to vast amounts of coal production facilities. Therefore, the company is positioned well for taking on new entrants into the market that already enjoy a favourable stakeholder outlook for their clean energy production methods.
The company’s value proposition, as outlined by its mission, is to develop and provide reliable power and related products and services at competitive prices. The value proposition has influenced its development of internal capacities to take advantage of technological and regulatory improvements in the Indian power sector.
Internal leadership at the company is also a resource capability that allows it to formulate tangible and reachable performance goals for its triple bottom line performance scorecard.
The company enjoys a privilege of having an independent board of directors that has the power to run the organization as a private enterprise with minimal interference from the government. As a result, NTPC can remain innovative by embracing market-based practices for its internal operations (Indian Express 2010).
The company’s brand, which follows its rechristened name, NTPC Limited, allows it to attract qualified job candidates suitable for various electricity generation competencies, such as solar, gas, hydroelectric, and thermal projects.
It also places the company in a favourable position to rival other private sector firms as its new name enshrines its inclusion of alternative electricity sources.
With a broad business outlook and a competent staff management program, NTPC has been successful in recruiting and maintaining highly qualified personnel in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, instrumentation engineering, civil engineering, and human resources, as well as finance.
As a result, it has a human capital competency that allows it to pursue bold market strategies that its rivals are unable to copy in the short-term. Therefore, the human capital resource at NTPC gives the company a distinct competitive capability worth protecting (NTPC 2014).
Balanced scorecard analysis
Companies that fail to use the balanced scorecard strategy to run their businesses remained unbalanced in resource allocation and utilization. Some aspects of the company can go unnoticed, leading to market share loss. The adage behind the balanced scorecard is that ‘what gets measured eventually improves’.
NTPC implements human resource accounting, which assists the company in the disclosure of non-financial metrics. In-depth reporting allows the company to present its investors with adequate information concerning its intangible assets. It also enables the company to understand the value of its resources better in a knowledge-based society.
The valuation of human resources of NTPC is important for the brand. It also provides insights into the industry that other stakeholders can use. NTPC includes human resource value and brand value in its total balance sheet value.
Thus, the company not only reviews tangible production elements, such as equipment performance in the quest to improve efficiencies, but it also evaluates the input of the employees in relation to the company expenditures on employee fitness and impact on production.
Thus, human resources accounting provides NTPC with critical decision-making reports that allow it to achieve its objectives and improve its overall long-term output (Kashive 2012).
The market value of the firm and its book value differences are attributable to the proper measurement of company’s intangible assets and their contribution to the overall performance. As capital markets become more transparent around the world, it is possible for firms to get more capital when they present adequate reports on their operations.
Investors and other stakeholders have become more interested in the market value of enterprises, which extend beyond the book value. Thus, a competitive edge useful in sourcing for funds to expand on managing growth is realized in firms like NTPC that have established trustworthiness with stakeholders.
It also uses the balanced scorecard related valuation of human resources as a marketing tool. The firm gains from its measurements and disclosures because of the enhanced reputation and positive external influence on its brand reputation (Kashive 2012).
A report by Deloitte (2011), in collaboration with the Indian Chamber of Commerce, indicated India’s public enterprises pursuit of triple bottom line as a three-dimensional measurement of corporate performance.
Therefore, apart from financial, the public enterprises like NTPC measure their performance in environmental and social matters. Sustainability of the business comes from adequate management of corporate, labour, and other stakeholder interests.
Under human capital, NTPC has to offer fair and beneficial business practices toward employees and its community. The “planet bottom line” calls for NTPC to create and use sustainable environmental practices to address issues like pollution and global warming.
Finally, the profit bottom line calls for the creation of economic surpluses to sustain the current operations and the future growth (Gurtoo 2009).
NTPC was a recipient of the Golden Peacock Award for Excellence in Corporate Governance in 2009 for being the best central public sector enterprise in India (Deloitte 2011). Presently, the company implements a number of initiatives to empower its employees and communities.
It provides quality education to students in 48 schools in various townships where it has power projects. The schools recruit more than 40,000 students (Deloitte 2011). The company also has a performance management system based on a joint goal setting principle that helps it track performance targets.
The system ensures that the employees and reporting officers discuss project parameters appropriately and jointly arrive at performance objectives. The system ensures that goals are tangible and reachable, as they are the products of consensus among the internal stakeholders of the company.
The implementation of the system begins with senior management and subordinate meetings to discuss and ascertain the overall annual targets. The second step is a review of the target achievement by either group. The last stage is for feedback from seniors when the cycles of evaluation come to an end.
Finally, competency gaps are analysed to contribute to plans for training. Members of the organization’s different ranks also have appeal mechanisms for use in airing grievances within the system, particularly regarding dissatisfaction with the performance rating system (Deloitte 2011).
For its senior management, NPTC implements a 360-degree staff appraisal that includes feedback from peers, subordinates, seniors, and customers.
The feedback and evaluation provide the company with a comprehensive leadership assessment system that becomes useful for bridging competency gaps in its senior management staffs (Deloitte 2011).
NTPC enters into a memorandum of understanding with the government for non-financial performance measures every year.
Under the environmental pillar of its triple bottom line strategy, NTPC has to engage in corporate social responsibility programs focusing on environmental issues and introduce sustainable development initiatives (Aggarwal 2013).
Presently, the company relies on its research and development partnership with institutions in India on the appropriate frameworks and technologies in exploration and production.
The company also follows a government mandate to pursue the latest technologies in producing, which forces it to keep pace with industry development by procuring the available state-of-the-art technologies (Deloitte 2011).
Porter’s Generic Strategy
Power of rivals
After the passage of the Electricity Act 2003, competition in the electricity industry became possible and private players have since increased their capacities that of NTPC. However, India has a huge power deficit and requires all the electricity that is generated, leaving no surplus in the industry.
Rivalry pressures only arise in the pricing of power because the producers cater for fuel sourcing costs, licensing, and operations costs of their plants.
The industry is also capital intensive, which ensures that competitive advantages enjoyed by one firm due to technologies do not quickly disappear because it takes time for the rivals to set up similar facilities.
Power of suppliers
Fuel suppliers have considerable power over the electricity generation companies. Companies seek the cheapest fuel they can get so that they can transfer cost savings to consumers. Thermal power producers rely on coal, gas, and oil suppliers.
Therefore, they are susceptible to supplier price fluctuations in the market. Too high prices for fuel lead to high costs that are passed on to consumers to make the power generated by a given company to be uncompetitive (Pushkar & Kumar 2013).
Power of substitutes
In power generation, NTPC faces substitutes like solar and other renewable energy sources. Its threat of substitute remains small, given that the focus of the company being thermal and hydroelectric power. Renewable power production costs are still high.
Moreover, the capital and regulatory approvals required to set up nuclear plants makes it hard for nuclear energy producers to increase their capacity in the short-term. Therefore, NTPC faces only a few threats from substitute power generating companies.
In some cases, substitutes such as solar power act as complementary sources of electricity to assist consumers who are off the grid to get power as they wait to join the national power grid.
Threat of new entrants
The threat of new entrants remains low, as many companies have to start small and increase their electricity generation capacity slowly. However, new entrants also rely on the formation of joint ventures with existing players to gain considerable market share in the industry (KPMG India 2010).
From April 2000 to September 2014, the electricity industry in India attracted foreign direct investment inflows worth US$ 9,309.96 million. The new entrants bid for new power projects and enter the market when they win power generation licenses. Licensing agreements are different for different states.
Recently, SunEdison signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Rajasthan. The deal will allow the firm to offer solar power projects that generate 5,000 MW in the state (India Brand Equity Foundation 2015). Similarly, Reliance Power commissioned 100MW of power in the same state.
The two examples show the activities of private companies entering into new market segments in the electricity industry in India.
The Indian electricity power sector experiences increasing growth as the country and its various power stakeholders make and implement plans to meet the current electricity supply deficit. India remains one of the least per capita consumers of electricity, despite the fact that the country is the fifth largest producer of electricity in the world.
The power industry in India recently became market-based because of central government reform processes. The reforms, ushered by the Electricity Act of 2003, introduced the private sector to electricity generation, transmission, and distribution to consumers.
Presently, individual states have the power to regulate power generation and distribution in their jurisdiction. They also rely on the power transmission contracts with transmission companies to export or import electricity to their states.
Much of the current generated power feeds commercial and industrial demand, with rural domestic users facing more of the country’s electricity shortage.
This report also analysed the competitive capabilities and strategies of the National Thermal Power Company, which has since renamed itself to NTPC Limited to symbolize its diversification from thermal electricity generation. It remains the largest electricity producer in India, and it is a public traded company.
The company embraces a balanced scorecard framework for measuring its performance, with core parameters being finance, people, and the environment under a triple bottom line approach.
It also deals with the growing competition adequately, although the results of deregulation of the industry by India’s central government have had a significant effect on the urgency of its operational goals and power production goals.
NTPC continues to embrace employee capacity development programs at various company levels to ensure that it sustains its core competitive capability, which is its human resource, as analysed using the resource-based view framework.
I have developed a better understanding of macroeconomic concepts after completing the first part of this assignment. The topic of research offered a good basis for looking at the economic perspectives, both from a firm’s level and national level, with the differences and similarities emerging succinctly throughout the discussion.
Industries play a part in contributing to the gross domestic product of countries. The efficiency of a particular industry can have a significant effect on the country’s overall economic performance.
After studying NTPC Limited in the Indian energy sector, I realize that government interventions through policy are critical enablers or disablers of a sector’s competitiveness. There has been a remarkable improvement in efficiency in just one decade following the introduction of competition in the electricity industry in India.
At the same time, the country has been able to cut its domestic electricity supply deficit by half, which happens alongside the annual growth in electricity demand due to the overall increase in economic activities in the country.
The government policy, which is realized through fiscal or monetary measures in an economy affect the level of consumption, prices, and associated supply capacity. At a microeconomic level, firms have to decide whether they should produce more or less, depending on the prevailing prices of their commodities.
My study shows that price alone does not influence the production decisions of suppliers. The nature of an industry and its significance to a country also affects production decisions. Besides that, there are stakeholder demands that a company’s leadership has to consider at every decision-making opportunity, to cut or increase production.
In the case of NTPC, as my study demonstrates, signing a pact with the government on performance ensured that despite market forces of demand and competitor’s power supply, NTPC still had to fulfil its objective to its major shareholder.
The company had to embrace the state-of-the-art technology available in the market to improve its production efficiencies, and cement its position as a leading electricity generating company in India.
At the same time, I realize that a company’s structure affects its decision-making possibilities.
As a state-owned enterprise, NTPC Limited expects its principal shareholder to make the major decisions about its strategy and competitive focus, however, have been granted autonomy by the central government; the company can perform remarkably well in a competitive environment because it is free to embrace market-based principles of strategic management.
The status of being a publicly-owned enterprise or a private-owned enterprise presents diverse implications on any company’s strategic positioning.
I realize that, had NTPC not been operating as a private entity, despite major shareholding by government, it would have been unable to come up with distinct internal organization policies that improve the quality and quantity of its workforce output.
Demand forces in an industry are capable of influencing supplier commitment to improving supply prices and product features.
In the case of the Indian electricity industry and NTPC in particular, the national electricity deficit and a growing demand due to increased economic activities in the country compelled industry policy makers and company leaders to come up with long-term marketing plans to fill the gap.
At the same time, the supply deficit allows the Indian electricity generator to be inefficient and still have considerable market performance, akin to the advantages enjoyed by a monopoly.
However, where there is a surplus in electricity production, I do not expect the Indian electricity generators like NTPC, Tata energy, and Reliance Power to have the luxury of running inefficient power generation plants.
The competition and market equilibrium forces will compel these companies to compete amongst each other based on their price offerings to electricity consumers, as well as the sustainability of their transmission contracts with the relevant service providers.
Although companies can have the best strategies for taking on rivals and enhancing their market share, they remain limited to the provisions offered by the government policy on competition, protection of business capabilities, and access to opportunities.
NTPC values its employees because it realizes that in the industry, which is marked by an identical product and plenty of inferior and superior alternative sources of the product, the main differentiating element in production is the quality of human capital that a firm possesses.
As an experienced player in the industry, the firm has accumulated considerable organizational knowledge that uniquely places it ahead of its competitors in terms of strategic outlook and company positioning to capture new opportunities.
The human capital allows NTPC to have tangible expectations of its supply capacity and utilize the current state of production technology.
However, as the number of producers increases in the market and production increases, NTPC will have to reinvest in human resource training to match new competitive thresholds that will be introduced by new players.
I am grateful for the immersive experience in studying economics and business strategy that this business analysis assignment has presented. I hope to use the insights gained so far in making assumptions and interpretations about other markets and business situations in my study and career work.
In addition to the economic concepts learned, I have also had a first-hand experience in doing research, looking for significant information sources on a particular business subject, and finding out different expert views about a company’s situation, its past and future strategy, and how that adds up to shape an industry in the context of the overall country economic circumstances.
I was also impressed by relativeness in economic indicator comparisons among countries. India is a developing country, yet its power generation capacity is larger than many developed countries. It reminds me that economic indicators must be viewed in a context, rather than isolation.
This realization has made me appreciate the use of business analysis tools such as the Porter’s generic forces, balanced scorecard, and the resource-based view, as well as the SWOT analysis.
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