He addressed the real problems and spoke knowledgably about the difficulties I was facing everyday

One day, deeply involved in my meter related problems, I was deliberating with my technicians and engineers in the meter laboratory of the Ahmedabad Electricity Company, when the telephone rang. The ringtone indicated it was an STD call.

“Panchal saab, I am Sanjaya from Udaipur, can I talk to you now or later? I have heard that you are facing many problems with Ferraris wheel meters and you are searching for a solution to overcome these. We have a solution that will satisfy your needs”.

I found the caller very interesting. He replied to my many questions not in a marketing or sales style, but in the manner of an expert. He addressed the real problems and spoke knowledgably about the difficulties I was facing every day. I felt he must be a meter engineer from a sensible utility. Towards the end of the conversation instead of him asking me for a meeting, I was so impressed that I said, “Sir not only I, but my seniors would like to meet you and you may call me again after a week to fix a date”.

Now I recall that a few months earlier, a market surveyor had visited me to gather data about our meter quantity requirements and informed me that to avoid the meter reading error, they were going to manufacture electronic meters with high accuracy and a digital display. I also remember that I was annoyed with him, did not give him any data and said, “Currently many meter manufacturing companies are closed and others are not doing well and it will be difficult for you to enter the market in the present scenario”.

He was such a sticky person who refused to leave without data and in the end, I had to call security to drag him out! Whilst leaving, he said, “Fir millenge”(see you again) to which I replied, “Only if you are coming with a metering system!” I came to know later that the surveyor mentioned in his report that ‘a crack person’ - Mr. Panchal from AECo - did not give any data, despite the fact he wants a metering system.

Sharing and developing the latest technology

One day during ‘holi,’ a festival which everyone in Rajasthan likes to spend with their family, I remember Sanjay Saab and another person (most likely he was Khuzema) came to visit our MD at Sabarmati Power Station to demonstrate the CALMU meter. Our MD, Mr Coelho and ED, Mr Pai were both very impressed. They agreed to continue discussing our problems with a view to finding solutions. They also agreed to extend our help for the development of a CALMU meter which would be suitable for Indian needs, but not before asking me, “What will we get for facilitating these Udaipur people?” Immediately the words came out of my mouth “Knowledge and a feel for the latest technology”.

Later on, I discussed many issues with KK Yadav at great length, such as wrong phase association, missing potential and its logic. We rigorously tested the meters in the AECo laboratory and eventually the CALMU meter was re-versioned for the Indian market.