CHENNAI: A recent survey by a city-based NGO has found that 60 per cent of the total electricity used in a household in Chennai, is towards only cooling. Owing to the city’s perpetual hot climate, air conditioner and fan are the two appliances used extensively by residents. But the extent to which Chennaites invest in energy-saving technology while purchasing appliances is quite low, observed the survey.
Also, though Tamil Nadu is the only state which has a slab system with first 100 units free, people still take current for granted and pay a lot towards electricity bills, the survey has highlighted. This can be achieved by making people understand that like water, electricity too is a finite source that needs to be conserved, said experts in the field.
For a period of one and a half years, the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG), in collaboration with Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE), had conducted this project. The aim of this in-depth survey was to find out the electricity consumption pattern of households, based on occupants, ownership and their willingness to use energy-efficient appliances. After compiling a report on this data, the members checked again on the surveyed houses after two months and saw an average of 6.9 per cent drop in electricity consumption.
The same campaign was carried out in Bengaluru and Mysore too. Across Chennai, around 600 households including one BHK (bedroom, hall, kitchen), two BHK, three BHK and larger houses, were surveyed to find out their total monthly and per capita electricity consumption. It was found that all types of houses in both categories recorded the maximum electricity consumption when compared to Bangalore. “Also, a number of appliances like fans, tubelights, air conditioners, geysers, etc, purchased in a household, is also the highest in Chennai. But most of these appliances purchased were not energy efficient or energy saving in nature. Cost is one of the reasons behind this decline. As such appliances are expensive, one will think twice to pay more to save energy,” said Bharath Jairaj, Director of World Resources Institute, one of the partners of this project.
Also, the phenomenon of ‘Phantom or Vampire’ power which is the power consumed during standby mode, is one of the major guzzlers of electricity, pointed out the study. “Awareness of this phenomenon was very low in all cities, including Chennai. This is the case especially with mobile phone chargers, television set-top boxes and stabilizers. People think if the charger is not connected to a phone, electricity is not consumed. This is not true. Such small changes can drastically bring down consumption and in turn, electricity bills too,” said K Sumathy, executive director of TIDE.
Small steps to save energy at home:
Switch off appliances when not in use: an international survey found that 7 per cent of energy gets wasted as phantom energy.
Be aware of the slab system before paying bi-monthly electricity bills - even by saving 10 units of power, one can save Rs 700-800 by constricting usage to one slab
Increase ventilation in a room to get natural light, use light coloured curtains and lamp shades to use less power, buy lights that have a dimmer to manually adjust the brightness
Avoid or reduce the usage of geysers in summer, get solar water heaters instead of thermal ones
Avoid overfilling the fridge, keep it away from heat sources like oven and direct sunlight - a 10F increase will result in a 20 percent increase in consumption
Buy BEE star labelled appliances in the case of AC, fridge