Balaji M K, Researcher - Consumer Protection

Online quiz competition on Electricity Governance, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy (January 2021 - March 2021)

Tue, 20/04/2021 - 14:01

During the COVID-19 pandemic, online quiz competitions were conducted for students from classes VI to XII. The aim was to engage with younger citizens raising their awareness of the working of the electricity sector. The topics covered were electricity governance, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. E- certificates were sent to students who took the online quiz through their registered email address.

The first round of competitions were held from June to September 2020. As these were very well received, we extended the  online quiz competition to school students of grades  6 to 12 in Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirappalli, and Vellore for the month of October 2020 to December 2020. 

The questions for the competition covered:  

  • Electricity governance
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy

A total of around  5,000 students participated in the quiz and the number of participants from each of the 7 ECC districts are given below.

electricity

Image 1 - No. of students participated in the online quiz competition

A certificate of participation was issued to all the students that participated. A sample of this is  attached below:

electricity

Image 2 - Sample certification of participation

From the responses given by the participants, it was found that more than 50% of the questions from each topic were answered correctly (image 3). 

electricity

Image 3 - Overview of marks scored in each topic

This reflects that the students have some awareness and knowledge on the above mentioned topics. While this is encouraging, persistent efforts to increase the awareness levels are necessary. CAG will continue to promote energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy among school children in Tamil Nadu.

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Online quiz competition on Electricity Governance, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy (October 2020 - December 2020)

Tue, 20/04/2021 - 08:20

CAG continued with its efforts to promote energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy among school children. After receiving a good response from students for the online quiz competitions conducted between June and December 2020,  Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs) continued the competitions through the months of January to March 2021 for school students from grades 6 to 12 in Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirappalli, and Vellore. 

The quiz was divided into a) electricity governance: considering the increasing necessity of electricity in our day-to-day life, it is important to understand how the electricity sector works in the state. b) energy efficiency: avoiding unnecessary consumption, and efficient usage of electricity are also important aspects to be considered. c) renewable energy: an important aspect of sustainable living and the future scope of electricity. 

A total of around 1500 students participated in the quiz. The following chart gives the number of participants from each of the 7 ECC districts.

ECC Quiz

Image 1- number of students participated on quiz

A certificate of participation was issued to all the students, a sample of which is  attached below:

ECC Quiz

Image 2- sample participation certificate

An analysis of  responses given by participants, indicate  that more than 40% of the questions from each topic answered correctly (image 3).

ECC Quiz

Image 3 - Overview of marks scored in each topic 

This reflects that the students have displayed some awareness on the above mentioned topics. While this is encouraging, persistent efforts to increase the awareness levels is necessary. CAG will continue to engage with school children on widening their knowledge on energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy. 

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Rooftop Solar Tool - An Easy, Pan India Excel Tool for Consumers - Version 1.0

Fri, 30/10/2020 - 09:26

In 2015, Government of India set an ambitious target of 175 GW of Renewable Energy (RE) capacity to be achieved by 2022. As of September 2020, 89.22 GW of RE capacity was added, which includes 3.22 GW of grid connected rooftop solar capacity. 

Online quiz competition on Electricity Governance, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy

Thu, 29/10/2020 - 08:45

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown situation, several schools initiated online classes., Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) undertook an online quiz competition to inculcate interest and enhance knowledge on electricity governance, energy efficiency, energy conservation and renewable energy. Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) also created videos on how the electricity bill is calculated during lockdown period in Tamil Nadu (English and Tamil) and how it used to be calculated before the pandemic (English and Tamil).

The online quiz competitions were held from the month of June to September 2020. They were conducted for school students of grades  6 to 12in Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirappalli, and Vellore. The competition was organised by the Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs), an initiative of CAG. 

The quiz was divided into a) Electricity governance: considering the increasing necessity of electricity in our day-to-day life, it is important to understand how the electricity sector works in the state. b) Energy efficiency: avoiding unnecessary consumption, and efficient usage of electricity are also important aspects to be considered. c) Renewable energy: an important aspect of sustainable living and the future scope of electricity. 

Totally around 5,300 students participated in the quiz and the below chart gives the number of participants from each of the 7 ECC districts.

Image

Online quiz blog image 1

Image 1 - No. of students participated in the online quiz competition

A certificate of participation was issued to all the students on their successful participation. A sample certificate of participation is attached below:

 

Image 2 - Sample certification of participation

From the responses given by the participants, it was found that more than 50% of the questions from each topic were answered correctly (image 3). 

Image

Online quiz blog image 3

Image 3 - Overview of marks scored in each topic 

 

This reflects that the students have some awareness on the above mentioned topics. While this is encouraging, persistent efforts to increase the awareness levels is necessary. CAG will continue its work to this effect and will add value to the cause through its research and related initiatives. 

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Social Media Campaign on Energy Efficiency, Energy Conservation, and Renewable Energy

Thu, 29/10/2020 - 08:43

Social media plays a significant role in this digital era across all sectors. This is especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic situation, where consumers are left with little option than to communicate using social media/virtually. Considering the potential of social media platforms, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) has been executing several social media campaigns to create awareness among citizens on electricity related issues like knowing one’s electricity bill, the bill calculations during the pandemic, energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy and so on. 

They are in the form of videos and posters and have been shared on CAG’s FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages. The nation majorly depends on the thermal power plants (almost 62%) for the electricity generation, which has several disadvantages for the environment. These posters were aimed at imparting awareness among consumers and  enable them to conserve energy by following some best  practices. The campaign also urges consumers to switch to renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar and solar water heaters. 

In addition, the Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs), established by CAG in seven districts of Tamil Nadu viz Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirappalli, and Vellore, in association with the local organisations, have shared all the posters with their WhatsApp groups, thus, extending the reach of the campaign. We were able to reach around 500 consumers across the seven districts with our messages on energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable energy. 

In all, 20 posters were created and shared on social media platforms at regular intervals. Through this social media campaign CAG has been able to reach 300 consumers per day to spread awareness on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

The posters shared in the social media is given below:

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Building capacity on energy efficiency among government school students

Tue, 28/04/2020 - 09:04

Recently, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) conducted capacity building programmes in government schools on energy efficiency and energy conservation. The sessions were attended by students of grade 9 to 12 of Chennai Higher Secondary Schools (CHSS) and Chennai Girls Higher Secondary Schools (CGHSS). We received a very good response from the children who asked a lot of interesting questions.

We thank the Education Department, Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) for trusting us and giving permission to create awareness among school students. We conducted the programme at:

  1. CHSS, Subbu Rayan Street, Shenoy Nagar on January 21, 2020

  2. CGHSS, Pulla Avenue, Shenoy Nagar on January 21, 2020

  3. CGHSS, Nungambakkam on January 23, 2020

  4. CHSS, Nungambakkam Boys on January 23, 2020

  5. CHSS, Velacheri on January 29, 2020

  6. CHSS, Taramani on January 29, 2020

  7. CHSS, Thiruvanmiyur on January 30, 2020

  8. CHSS, Tondiarpet on January 30, 2020

  9. CHSS, Old Washermanpet on January 30, 2020

  10. CGHSS, Market Street, Perambur on January 31, 2020

  11. CGHSS, MH Road, Perambur on January 31, 2020

  12. CHSS MGR Nagar, on February 15, 2020

  13. CHSS, Alwarpet on February 26, 2020

  14. CHSS, Maduvinkarai on February 27, 2020

  15. CGHSS, Saidapet, on February 27, 2020

  16. CHSS, Koyembedu on February 28, 2020

The objectives of the training programme were to:

  1. Educate school children on various means and methods of generating power;

  2. Promote awareness on conserving electricity through behavioural practices; 

  3. Highlight the importance of energy-efficient appliances; and 

  4. Demonstrate the use and advantages of solar energy. 

Balaji, Researcher, CAG, and Jeya Kumar, Researcher, CAG, made presentations on energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy, and demonstrated the working of solar energy. 

Image 1: Students at the session in CHSS, Maduvinkarai 

 

Image 2: Students at the session in CHSS, Koyembedu

CAG representatives interacted with students on various electricity generation methods, the electricity billing process, functioning of appliances used in their households, etc.   

Image 3: Balaji explaining various energy conservation methods at CGHSS, West Saidapet

 

The presenters explained the various electricity generation methods including a) renewable sources - solar, wind, hydro, and biomass; b) non-renewable sources - coal, lignite, gas, etc. They briefed the students on the disadvantages of non-renewable energy sources and their impact on the environment.  This was followed by a discussion on the  difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency. The students also shared their experiences of energy conservation practices followed and observed in their everyday lives such as switching off the electrical appliances when not in use, etc. 

Discussions around energy conservation included:

  1. Cleaning lampshades to get the maximum amount of brightness from the lights and using downward facing lamps;

  2. Cleaning the blades of the fans at regular intervals;

  3. Cleaning the filters of the air conditioners at regular intervals;

  4. Setting the temperature of air conditioners between 24 and 26 degrees Celsius;

  5. Leaving some space around the refrigerator for air circulation, not overloading or underloading the refrigerator, regular defrosting, etc.;

  6. Switching off the television, set-top boxes, and water heaters when not in use to avoid the standby mode power consumption; and

  7. Not overcharging mobiles as this may affect battery life. 

The students were taught to check the parameters of the appliances while purchasing. For example, the presenters explained the importance of lumens (lumens represents the amount of light emitted from a source) and why it is necessary to check lumens in addition to the watts. In addition the presenters shared information on the standards and labelling programme introduced by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency which was setup by Government of India with an objective to reduce the energy demand in the country and the different parameters like label period, average annual consumed units, type of appliance etc., to be checked in the star rating label while buying an appliance. The presentation included the difference between energy efficient appliances and regular appliances. For example, in the amount of power consumed by appliances such as an incandescent bulb Vs an energy-efficient LED bulb; old fans Vs an energy-efficient Brushless DC (BLDC) fan; and non-star rated appliances Vs star-rated.

As of December 2019, renewable energy contributed around 36% of installed capacity. There was a detailed discussion around renewable energy sources and their installed capacity in India.

Image 4: Balaji demonstrating the working of solar energy at CHSS, Koyembedu

Image 5: Jeya Kumar demonstrating the working of solar energy at CGHSS, Perambur

Finally, the working of solar energy was demonstrated with the help of a solar LED lighting system. The solar demonstration kit comprises a 20 watt solar panel, a 12 volt and 7 Ah battery, a charge controller, and a 2 watt DC LED bulb. Using these, the procedure for installing a rooftop solar system in households was explained in detail. The differences between on-grid system and off-grid system, and unidirectional meter and bi-directional meter were also imparted. 

Image 6: Balaji explaining the rooftop solar system installed at CHSS, MGR Nagar

Some of the questions posed by the students and the responses given are listed below:  

  • Use of stabilisers in the household:

    • A stabiliser is a device which is used to protect electrical equipment, such as air conditioner, refrigerator, television, from damage due to voltage fluctuations.

  • Is it advisable to connect two appliances to the same switch?

    • It is preferable to have one switch per appliance as this will reduce unnecessary consumption of power (when one appliance is not being used and the other is).

  • Full forms of abbreviations LED, LCD and CRT 

    • Light Emitting Diode (LED), Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and Cathode Ray Tube (LCD).

  • The lifetime of the solar plant

    • The lifetime of the solar plant is 25 years when maintained properly.

  • Approximate payback period of rooftop solar systems

    • Assuming that a consumer consumes approximately 1800 units in a year and installs a 1 kW rooftop solar with a subsidy, as per Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA), the cost of installation will be Rs. 43,700 and therefore his payback period will be 10 years (approximately). 

The presenters clarified all their doubts and students gave positive feedback about the sessions, indicating special interest in the process of installing rooftop solar in their premises, and the purpose of star rating label in appliances.

Image 6: Students interacting during the session at CGHSS, West Saidapet

 

Image 7: Students interacting during the session at CGHSS, MH Road, Perambur

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Capacity building programmes on Electricity Governance - August 2019

Tue, 14/01/2020 - 13:11

Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs) conducted capacity building meetings on energy governance in the month of August 2019 at 

1. Shanmuga Mini AC Hall, Salem, on 4 August 2019

Speakers: 

  • Boopathi.J.M, Founder of consumer voice foundation,
  • Prabakaran.L, Coordinator, ECC - Salem,
  • Jayaraman, Advisor, ECC - Salem,
  • Jeyakumar, Researcher, CAG
  • Sivakumar, NIRT Renewable Energy,
  • Sribaskar, Coordinator, ECC - Salem 

2. Gomath Thirumana Mandapam, Mukkudal, Tirunelveli on 18 August 2019

Speakers:

  • Venkatachalam, President, Tirunelveli Maavata Nugarvor Urimai Paadhukaapu Sangam,
  • Muthusamy, Coordinator, ECC - Tirunelveli
  • Shanmugam, Advisor, ECC - Tirunelveli,
  • Balaji, Researcher, CAG,
  • Anto Jeyaraj, GreenTech Solar,
  • Ganapathi Subramaniyan, FEDCOT, District Secretary.

3. Yelagiri Hall, Vellore on 21 August 2019

Speakers:

  • Kumari.T, Managing trustee, National Level Educational and Training Trust
  • Radhakrishnan, Rotary Club Head,
  • Bharath Ram, Researcher, CAG,
  • Dhivya, ECC Engineer, CAG,
  • Kumar, Junior Engineer, TANGEDCO, Technical Training and Development Center, Sholinghur
  • Ganesh, Luminous Solar
  • Jayapal, Advisor, ECC - Vellore

4. Suriya Thirumana Mandapam, Thandrampattu, Tiruvannamalai on 22 August 2019

Speakers:

  • Rama Perumal, Director, Sadayanodai Ilaignar Narpani Mandram (SINAM)
  • Bharath Ram, Researcher, CAG
  • Dhivya, ECC Engineer, CAG,
  • Anandhan, Advisor, ECC - Tiruvanamalai
  • Ashok Kumar, Coordinator, ECC - Tiruvanamalai

5. Aurobindo School Meeting Hall, Neyveli, Cuddalore on 25 August 2019

Speakers:

  • Selvaraj, Chairman, Federation of Consumer Organisations Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT)
  • Muthukumarasamy,
  • Ganga, Self-help Group, Neyveli
  • Selvi, Self-help Group, Neyveli
  • Raj Kumar, Solar Developer, Chidambaram
  • Radhakrishnan, Advisor, ECC - Cuddalore

6. Sivapunniya Thirumana Mahal, Trichy, on 26 August 2019. 

Speakers:

  • Vanaja, Director, People’s Action Service Society (PASS)
  • Velusamy, Advisor, ECC - Trichy
  • Bharath Ram, Researcher, CAG
  • Dhivya, ECC Engineer, CAG
  • Loganathan, Trichy Electronics 
  • Prakash, Coordinator, ECC - Trichy.

Image 1: Participants in the capacity building meeting in Vellore

Topics covered in all districts: 

The objective of the meetings was to educate consumers on energy governance, rights of consumers in the electricity sector, and to create awareness about ECCs. 

Image 2: Mr. Venkatachalam, President, TMNUPS, speaking to the participants about ECCs

In all meetings, the heads of the organisations welcomed the participants and explained about ECCs’ functions. Respective Advisors spoke to participants on various consumer-related queries. Researchers and ECC Engineers from CAG made a presentation on the importance of consumer participation in the electricity sector. In addition, TANGEDCO officials delivered their thoughts and clarified queries raised by the participants. ECC Coordinators concluded the sessions with a vote of thanks.  

Image 3: Mr. Kumar, Junior Engineer, TANGEDCO, Technical Training and Development Center, Sholingur explaining the importance of earthing process

Image 4: Mr. Jeyakumar discussing importance of star rated appliances

The important points that were discussed during the meetings include:

  1. Importance of earthing process and certain tips on handling the unearthed equipment; 

  2. Discussion on the theft of power and how to identify power theft; 

  3. A detailed presentation on energy efficiency and energy conservation practices at the household level;

  4. The difference between the power consumption in star-rated and non-star-rated appliances and other important parameters such as year mentioned in the star label. CAG staff advised participants to buy appliances with the highest star ratings as they consume less power.

  5. The advisors clarified questions raised by participants on tariff calculation for commercial and residential consumers, street light issues, name transfer, meter-related issues, agricultural connections, etc. 

  6. At Thiruvannamalai, Mr. Suthagar from Optimum Energy Solar system (OESS) gave a demo on the usage of solar power in households. He said that using a renewable source of energy reduces dependence on non-renewable sources such as coal-powered plants and also reduces environmental impacts. He mentioned that the use of solar power will significantly reduce electricity bills. He explained the difference between on-grid and off-grid solar rooftop systems. He clarified questions raised by consumers on installation costs, required rooftop area, and its payback period. 

Image 5: Mr. Anandhan, Advisor, ECC-Tiruvannamalai, clarifying consumer queries

Image 6: Mr. Suthagar demonstrating the working of solar

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