CHENNAI: How often have you noticed the number of yellow stars on a sticker while purchasing a new electrical appliance? Our ignorance maybe the reason behind the extra 100 units of power recorded in the monthly metre card. To sensitise residents about their existing power consumption patterns and suggest methods to lower this, the Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group (CAG) has kickstarted a campaign called ‘Minsarathai Semippom’.
The civic NGO is carrying out this project in partnership with TIDE (Technology Informatics Design Endeavour) and with the support of Societe Generale Global Solution Centre. This is an extension of a similar program being run in Bengaluru by TIDE.
The aim of this project is to find out residents’ willingness to use energy-efficient appliances. With the help of 20 students from Don Bosco Technical Institute at Basin Bridge, detailed door-to-door surveys have been carried out across the city. “We mainly want to find out the average electricity consumption pattern of a locality. And then analyse how many households exceed this average and how they can reduce it,” said M K Balaji, one of three researchers from CAG.
The usage in about 400 homes in Avadi, Ambattur, Pattabiram, Mylapore, Alwarpet, Egmore, Arani and Perambur have been surveyed since March. To have substantial results, they target to reach 700 plus households by the end of June. “The survey will include questions about the appliances that residents use and the frequency of usage, at what temperature is the air conditioner operated, is it an inverter type or not etc. Depending on the kind of machines used, residents have to answer questions,” said Balaji.
The group has also directly contacted resident associations in a few areas. Raja Street and Thiruveedhi Amman Kovil street are few such localities. “Around 10 residents have volunteered as of now. We have also formed a WhatsApp group with representatives from CAG and other resident associations to spread the message about this initiative,” said Bala K L, secretary of the Thiruveedhi Amman Kovil Street Resident Association (TAKSRA).
But there are some residents who are hesitant about sharing information about their metre readings. “Some are not ready to disclose such private details about their homes. But we are trying to explain that this initiative will ultimately bring down their electricity bills and save power,” said Ganga Sridhar, President of Raja Street Resident Association.