Subhash Das recounts his experiences as chairman of the Assam State Electricity Board and some of the reforms undertaken during his tenure there. He describes the initial opposition to reform among employees who were skeptical about promises of job security and the future payments of their pensions. He also details other reforms, such as limiting transmission and distribution loss, preventing the electricity board from becoming insolvent, and expanding services. He characterizes efforts to improve collection and billing efficiency, which involved creating incentives for employees to collect payments and disconnect service from people who were not paying their bills. Das outlines the process of giving more authority to sub-divisional officers in order to get people hooked up to the electricity grid. He also describes the Single Point Power Supply Scheme, which dispatches rural agents to collect payments instead of having customers traveling long distances to pay their bills. He relates how he conducted an audit, expanded capacity by increasing the number of transformers, and improved the quality of service. He explains how the Electricity Act established a system for grievances, and he describes capacity-building efforts and training for veteran employees.
At the time of this interview, Subhash Das was principal secretary of the Home and Political departments for the government of Assam in India. He held this position since September 2007 and generally dealt with issues of internal security and police administration. From 2004 until 2007, he served as the chairman of the Assam State Electricity Board. Before that, he worked in the industries department, the agriculture department, the education department and the planning department.