Embracing energy efficiency

The Power Minister, R.K. Singh, recently announced the Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. The rules lay down uniform performance standards for power distribution companies (discoms) and make them liable to compensate consumers in case of violations. The well-intentioned rules come at a time when Indian discoms are struggling to manage their finances. This is partly linked to drop in payment rates, as consumers are struggling to pay their bills amid rising consumption and tight finances. The Indian government has sanctioned liquidity relief to help discoms tide over this crisis, but these are just short-term fixes.

India’s residential electricity consumption is expected to at least double by 2030. As households buy more electric appliances to satisfy their domestic needs, concerns about the ability of discoms to provide reliable supply at affordable rates will also rise. Embracing energy efficiency can be a win-win solution as this can bring down household energy bills and reduce discoms’ financial stress.

Tryst with energy efficiency

In recent years, India has seen significant adoption of energy-efficient appliances, especially those covered under the mandatory labelling programme, according to the India Residential Energy Survey conducted by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water and the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy. The survey, covering nearly 15,000 households across 21 States, found that more than 75% of air-conditioners and 60% of refrigerators used in Indian homes were star-labelled. Further, nearly 90% of Indian homes used LED lamps or tubes.

However, there has been limited uptake of energy-efficient ceiling fans and televisions. While 90% of homes use fans, only 3% have efficient fans. Similarly, 60% of our television stock comprises the big old energy-guzzling CRT (cathode ray tube) models. Desert coolers, used by 15% homes, are not even covered under the labelling programme. Significant efficiency gains are also possible for other appliances like water pumps and induction cook stoves. –Thehindu

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