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‘More Indian firms are opting for energy management’-Schneider Electric, VP India and SAARC

According to reports, with a string of acquisitions in India, Schneider Electric is in consolidation mode, offering the entire spectrum of energy management solutions.

The €22.6-billion French major, with manufacturing plants in India spanning UPS units, cooling systems, electrical switches and other energy sector products, is on a rapid geographical expansion, getting into smaller cities and towns.

Shrinivas Chebbi, Vice-President, India and SAARC, Schneider Electric, said India has emerged as the most happening market. Increasingly, Indian companies are opting to outsource all their energy management issues, right from energy audit to its overall management to improve efficiency. “If infrastructure is not green, it is more likely to be red rather than blue,” he said. In fact, small and medium enterprises are faster to take to these solutions, whether this stems from wanting to think out of the box solution or the kind of platform the company has created to handle energy management. Interacting with Business Line here, along with Aniket Patange, Director, Professional Services, Schneider Electric India, Chebbi said that a holistic approach to energy management will help companies.

Excerpts from the interview:

How is Schneider Electric doing in India?

India, along with China, Russia and Brazil, has emerged as a key market for growth. In India, we now have a very strong presence with over 30 manufacturing facilities across products, with over 16,000 employees. The business out of India is now over $3 billion. This includes over $1 billion of domestic business, over $1 billion of export and over $1 billion of import.

Which are the fastest-growing segments for the company in India?

We are global specialists in energy management, offering integrated solutions, infrastructure, energy processes, automation and data centres and networks. The focus is on making energy, reliable and efficient. Increasingly, companies are giving a special thrust to energy management. They prefer a solutions approach, where an expert takes over all their problems and provides them with tangible benefits through energy savings.

How big is the energy savings market in India?

It is conservatively estimated to be about $1 billion and growing at a rapid pace. Globally, data centres and networks consume about 3 per cent of total electricity.

This is poised to go up to about 30 per cent within 20 years. This only highlights the importance of energy efficiency. Therefore, most sectors see this as a critical aspect of their business plan.

Which are the sectors addressing such energy management as a priority?

All sectors are looking at this, as energy management provides direct benefits to a company. They are measurable. Starting from telecom and IT to manufacturing and automotives, each and every sector is looking into this aspect of operations. In fact, small and medium enterprises are faster to adopt energy solutions. Even small businesses with global clientele are rapidly deploying them. Some industry clusters, such as those in Coimbatore and those around Kolhapur, supplying to developed markets are quick to latch on to energy management. They cannot afford any downside.

So how do you tackle these diverse sets of clients?

We have a four-point strategy: India for India, focus on localisation, geographical expansion to even the remotest location and a solutions approach.

For small and medium sized units we have out-of-the-box solutions that they can just fit and plug in; for larger enterprises, they can take to a platform approach and, for others, we have customised solutions. In fact, we are also going rural with solar-powered solutions which we have implemented through NGOs. We are working with the GMR Group and Grameen Foundation in Bangladesh, among others, offering solar-powered solutions.

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