Jeya Kumar R, Researcher - Consumer Protection

E-Outreach meetings - October to December, 2020

Tue, 20/04/2021 - 08:30

Electricity consumer cells (ECCs) are an initiative by the Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) in seven districts of Tamil Nadu namely, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirapalli, and Vellore. Generally, all the seven Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs) used to conduct physical outreach meetings twice in a month in their respective districts. These meetings were held to sensitise consumers about the ECCs and help them by clarifying their queries related to electricity problems. Consumers register electricity related complaints with ECCs during the meetings. Based on the complaint, the ECC Advisors advise them about the procedures and/or resolve it by taking it up with the TANGEDCO officials. 

From April, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, ECCs have been unable to conduct outreach meetings physically in their respective districts. Alternatively, they reach out to electricity consumers through e-outreach meetings, which are conducted through  digital platforms like Google Meet, and Zoom.  24 e-outreach meeting were totally conducted between the month of June to September

Amidst COVID-19, ECCs conducted 24 e-outreach meetings between October and December, 2020. 

S.No

ECC 

No. of E-outreach meetings (Date)

1

Cuddalore

3( October 28, 2020,November 27, 2020 & December 23, 2020)

2

Salem

3( October 23, 2020,November 21, 2020 & December 20, 2020) 

3

Thiruvallur

3( October 28, 2020,November 18, 202 & ,December 16, 2020)

4

Tirunelveli

3( October 31, 2020,November 27, 2020 & December 15, 2020)

5

Tiruvannamalai

3( October 20, 2020,November 24, 202 & ,December 14, 2020)

6

Trichy

3( October 27, 2020,November 21, 2020 & December 21, 2020)

7

Vellore

3( October 28, 2020,November 21, 2020 & December 10, 2020)

Table-1: No.of E-outreach meetings conducted with date

ECC coordinators explained the importance of conducting outreach meetings, which are to discuss electricity-related issues and to create awareness on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. They explained how the ECCs reached out to TANGEDCO officials for resolving consumer complaints during this pandemic situation. People from different consumer categories such as domestic, agricultural, commercial, participated in the meetings.
 

ECC Meeting

Image 1 - E-outreach meeting conducted by ECC Salem 

The ECC engineers explained the necessity of conserving electricity. They explained in detail about  energy conservation and energy efficiency practices that can be adopted in our everyday life. Some of the energy conservation and efficiency tips discussed during the meetings discussed were:

  1. Battery chargers, such as those for laptops, cell phones and digital cameras, draw power whenever they are plugged in and are very inefficient. Pull the plug and save.
  2. Dirty tube lights and bulbs reflect less light and can absorb 50 percent of the light; dust your tube lights and lamps regularly
  3. Use ceiling fans as the first line of defence against summer heat. Ceiling fans, uses much lesser amounts  of electricity when compared to the Air conditioner.
  4. Refrigerator motors and compressors generate heat, so allow enough space for continuous airflow around the refrigerator. If the heat can't escape, the refrigerator's cooling system will work harder and use more energy.
  5. Clean the air-conditioner filter every month. A dirty air filter reduces airflow and may damage the unit. Clean filters enable the unit to cool down quickly and use less energy.

ECC Meeting

Image 2 - E-outreach meeting conducted by ECC Vellore

The ECC engineers made presentations on renewable energy, especially rooftop solar. The solar developers who were invited as part of the ECC e-outreach meeting explained about the installation process of the solar panels in the premises. 

ECC Meeting

Image 3 - E-outreach meeting conducted by ECC Trichy 

In the third part of the outreach meeting, ECC Advisors explained about the consumer complaints redressal mechanism. They also spoke about some common issues like name transfer, how to get new agriculture connections etc. during these meetings.

Some of the queries raised by consumers during the E-Outreach meetings:

  • Query - Mr. X  raised an issue about a billing problem, where the current consumption charges (or electricity bill) were higher compared to the last billing cycle (previous months).
  • Advise -  ECC Advisor advised him to give a written complaint to the Assistant engineer about the issue with a copy to the ECC. 
  • Query - Mr. Y  required advice surrounding the replacement of the damaged Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) pole of a  transformer.
  • Advise - ECC Advisor advised him to submit a written complaint to the concerned Assistant Engineer for replacing the damaged pole. 
  • Query - Ms. Z enquired on the procedures for availing the temporary service connection during construction of a new house. 
  • Advisor advised Mr.Z to submit the application with the required documents to the local  section office. Then, the Assistant engineer will calculate the estimated amount, which has to be paid. After paying the amount, the temporary service connection will be effected within 30 days of time.
  • Query - Mr A complained that he had a low voltage problem in his house for the past two weeks.
  • Advise - ECC Advisor advised him to file a written complaint with the respective TANGEDCO’s office with A.E.

Conclusion

The ECCs have continued to work and support consumers during the pandemic without interruption in operations. ECCs have adapted themselves to collecting complaints through different modes of advertisement and delivering advice and solving their electricity related issues even over the pandemic.

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E-Outreach meetings - January 2021

Tue, 20/04/2021 - 08:27

Electricity consumer cells (ECCs) are an initiative by Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) in seven districts of Tamil Nadu namely, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirapalli, and Vellore. Generally, all the seven Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs) used to conduct physical outreach meetings twice in a month in their respective districts. These meetings were held to sensitise consumers about the ECCs and help them  by clarifying their queries related to electricity problems. Consumers register electricity related complaints with ECCs during the meetings. Based on the complaint, the ECC Advisors advise them about the procedures and/or resolve it by taking it up with the TANGEDCO officials. 

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic situation, ECCs were unable to conduct outreach meetings physically in their respective districts. Alternatively, April 2020 onwards they reached out to electricity consumers through e-outreach meetings, which were conducted through Google Meet.  In total, 7  e-outreach meetings were  conducted in the month of January 2021 as given below.
 

S.No

ECC 

No. of E-outreach meetings (Date)

1

Cuddalore

1 (January 28, 2021) 

2

Salem

1 (January 23, 2021)

3

Thiruvallur

1 (January 27, 2021)

4

Tirunelveli

1 (January 29, 2021)

5

Tiruvannamalai

1 (January 28, 2021)

6

Trichy

1 (January 29, 2021)

7

Vellore

1 (January 27, 2021)

Table-1: No.of E-outreach meetings conducted with date

ECC coordinators explained the importance of conducting outreach meetings, which are to discuss electricity-related issues and to create awareness on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. They explained how the ECCs are reaching the TANGEDCO officials for resolving consumer complaints during this pandemic situation. They have explained a few problems that were resolved during the pandemic situation. People from different consumer categories such as domestic, agricultural, commercial, participated in the meetings.

ECC Meeting

Image 1 - E-outreach meeting conducted by ECC Tirunelveli

The ECC engineers explained the necessity of conserving electricity. They explained in detail about  energy conservation and energy efficiency practices that can be adopted in our everyday life. Some of the energy conservative and efficiency tips discussed are:

  1. Battery chargers, such as those for laptops, cell phones and digital cameras, draw power whenever they are plugged in and are very inefficient. They draw power even when the switch is turned off. It was advised to remove the plug when not in use and save energy.
  2. Dirty tube lights and bulbs reflect less light and can absorb 50 percent of the light; dust your tube lights and lamps regularly
  3. Use ceiling fans as a way to cool the room first. Ceiling fans use much lesser amounts  of electricity, when compared to the Air conditioner.
  4. Refrigerator motors and compressors generate heat, so allow enough space by placing it away from the wall to ensure continuous airflow around the refrigerator. If the heat can't escape, the refrigerator's cooling system exerts more energy to expend the heat leading to a higher electricity bill.
  5. Clean the air-conditioner filter every month. A dirty air filter reduces airflow and needs more energy to cool the room. A dirty air filter may also damage the unit. Clean filters enable the unit to cool down quickly and use less energy.

Zoom Meeting

Image 2 - E-outreach meeting conducted by ECC Tiruvallur

The ECC Engineers further presented on renewable energy, especially rooftop solar solar energy. The solar developers who were invited guests as part of the e-outreach meetings spoke about the installation process of the solar panels in the premises. 

ECC MeetingECC Meeting

Image 3 - E-outreach meeting conducted by ECC Salem

The ECC Advisors explained about the consumer complaints redressal mechanism. They also  spoke about some common issues like name transfer, how to get new agriculture connections etc. during these meetings.

Some of the queries raised by consumers during the E-Outreach meetings:

  • Query - Mr. A raised an issue about the frequent power fluctuations during the nights
  • Advise -  ECC Advisor advised Mr.A to register a complaint with the TANGEDCO’s toll free number 1912, which is 24*7 customer care centres.    
  • Query - Mr. B complained that his electricity meter had not been working for the past few days.   
  • Advise - ECC Advisor advised him to file a written complaint with the respective assistant engineer.
  • Query - Ms. C enquired on the procedures for changing the service connection from domestic to commercial. 
  • Advise - Advisor advised Mr.C to meet the local Assistant Engineer regarding the query with a requisition letter. Then, the Assistant engineer will initiate the process of changing the service connection after paying the required charges which will be completed within 30 days. 

Conclusion

The ECCs have continued to work and support consumers during the pandemic without interruption in operations. ECCs have adapted themselves to collecting complaints through different modes of advertisement and delivering advice and solving their electricity related issues even over the pandemic.
 

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A study on enhancing consumer participation in electricity regulatory decision making

Wed, 28/10/2020 - 12:41

This study attempts to capture consumers' perspectives on their electricity issues and their own suggestions to solve these by framing/revising regulatory provisions for the same. Relevant electricity regulations in Tamil Nadu were mapped in line with issues highlighted by consumers and checked for gaps, if any. Further, new regulatory provisions are proposed as a means to bridging identified gaps. In summary, our findings suggest that there is adequate scope to pursue revisions in the regulations based on consumers’ perspectives.

 

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State-level Electricity Consumer Cell (ECC) meeting, Chennai

Tue, 21/01/2020 - 09:07

Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) organised a State-level Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs) meeting on November 07, 2019, at The Raj Park, Chennai. The objective of the meeting was to discuss the progress of the ECCs and to understand the various challenges faced by the ECCs functioning in Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Tiruvannamalai, Salem, Tiruchirappalli, and Vellore districts.

Mr. Vishnu Mohan Rao, Senior Researcher, CAG, welcomed all the participants. He explained the importance of conducting the meeting which is to summarise the progress of ECCs from January 2019 to October 2019. 

Image 1: Mr. Vishnu Mohan Rao, explaining agenda of the meeting

Mr. G.N.Bharath Ram, Researcher, CAG, gave a presentation on the progress of all ECCs between January 2019 to October 2019. All the seven ECCs received a total number of 741 complaints during the above mentioned period, which included domestic, commercial and small scale industries, and agricultural consumers. He listed out the outreach meetings and capacity building programmes conducted by ECCs. As of October 2019, there are 2,688 consumers who are the beneficiaries through these programmes.

 

Image 2: Mr. G. N. Bharath Ram, speaking about the progress of ECCs

Mr. Balaji M K., Researcher, CAG, presented a multi-aspect detailed analysis about consumer advisories viz. 1) Status of complaints - resolved, pending and closed; 2) Nature of complaints - billing related, meter related, service related, power quality related, infrastructures related, and miscellaneous complaints; 3) Gender-wise - complaints registered by male, female and transgender complainants; 4) Based on consumer categories - domestic, commercial, small scale industries, agricultural. He also explained about other activities such as puppet shows for creating awareness, training programme for college students.  

 

Image 3: Mr. Balaji M K., explaining the progress of ECCs

Mr. Selvaraj, Chairman, Federation of Consumer Organisations Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT) shared experiences of ECC Tiruvallur in resolving consumer complaints. He mentioned that TANGEDCO officials are encouraging the work of ECC and also maintaining  a healthy relationship. He also explained about the positive responses received from the electricity consumers.  

Mr. Radhakrishnan, ECC Advisor, Cuddalore explained about the difficulties faced in organising outreach and capacity building programmes in rural parts of Cuddalore district. He also explained about the complaints that involved other local bodies  e.g. street light issues.

Mr. Shanmugam, ECC Advisor, Tirunelveli, shared his experience in resolving infrastructure related complaints e.g. distribution line crossing near school buildings, dislocation of high voltage junction box which is highly dangerous. He also mentioned the outreach of ECC in the wide spread Tirunelveli district.

Mr. Ramaperumal, Director, Sadayanodai Ilaignar Narpani Mandram (SINAM), gave a presentation on work done by ECC Tiruvannamalai in solving consumer issues. He also shared experiences in resolving agricultural consumer issues and creating awareness about solar agricultural pumpsets.

Mr. J. M. Bhoopathi, Founder, Consumer Voice Foundation, Salem, spoke about the consumer rights in contacting the TANGEDCO section office to resolve complaints. He emphasised the importance of consumer participation for the betterment of the electricity sector and remarked that the capacity building programmes for the different categories of consumers play a significant role in improving the quality of consumer participation. 

Ms. Kumari T, Managing Trustee, National Level Educational and Training Trust (NEST) shared her experience in organising outreach meetings and capacity building programmes. She explained the cordial responses from the consumers side as well as the TANGEDCO side.

Ms. Vanaja, Director, People’s Action Service Society (PASS) shared her experience in approaching TANGEDCO officials for redressal of consumer complaints. She also explained about difficulties in engaging different categories of consumers. 

Mr. Jeya Kumar R, Researcher, CAG, gave a presentation on KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) Scheme. He gave an overview on all the three components of the scheme such as 1) Component A - grid connected solar or any other renewable energy plants; 2) Component B - standalone solar agriculture pumps; 3) Component C - solarisation of grid-connected agriculture pumps. 

 

Image 4: Mr. Jeya Kumar R, presenting about KUSUM scheme

Mr. Nagesh Kumar J, Director, Centre for Energy, Environment and Productivity (CEEP) gave a talk on passive buildings. He explained the role of building materials and passive construction techniques in energy conservation. He also added the importance of renewable energy for a better future.

Mr. Vishnu Mohan Rao, Senior Researcher, CAG concluded the meeting with a vote of thanks.

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Capacity Building Meetings on Electricity Governance - Electricity Consumer Cells (ECC) Tiruvallur and Cuddalore

Fri, 03/01/2020 - 13:16

Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs), organised capacity building programmes on electricity governance at Bangarampet village, Tiruvallur district and Chidambaram, Cuddalore district on July 20, 2019 and July 21, 2019 respectively. The events primarily focused on imparting knowledge and creating awareness on electricity governance among consumers. Both the capacity building programmes saw participation from different consumer categories such as domestic, commercial, and agricultural.

Mr. Selvaraj, Chairman, Federation of Consumer Organisations Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT) welcomed all participants in both the events and explained the importance of the capacity building programme and the need to develop basic knowledge on electricity sector and understanding the responsibilities of consumers.

An overview about the structure and functions of ECCs was given by Mr. Ashokan, Advisor, ECC Tiruvallur and Mr. Selvaraj, Chairman, FEDCOT at Bangarampet and Chidhambaram respectively. They also explained how ECCs are actively extending their support and advisory services to the consumers. 

Image 1: Mr. Selvaraj, explaining about structure and functions of ECCs 

In both the events, Mr. Jeya Kumar R, Researcher, CAG, presented in detail about the electricity sector, its operations, institutional framework, and governance mechanisms. He began by explaining how electricity reaches the end consumers and elaborated on the three major processes such as i) generation ii) distribution and  iii) transmission. He further shed light on these processes in Tamil Nadu (TN), with due focus on the roles and functions of Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd., (TANGEDCO) a subsidiary company of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board Ltd., (TNEB Ltd.,); and Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation Ltd., (TANTRANSCO) another subsidiary company of TNEB Ltd., that governs the transmission of electricity in TN.

He then briefed the participants about TANGEDCO’s platforms for consumer grievance redressal e.g. filing a complaint in person, through a phone call, and consumer grievance redressal forum (CGRF) . He further discussed the responsibilities of consumers with respect to conserving energy, preventing electricity theft, and following TANGEDCO’s rules e.g. prompt payment of electricity bills to avoid disconnection, not damaging utility assets, utilising electricity for sanctioned purposes only.     

He also highlighted the need for renewables by explaining the impact of non-renewable energy  sources on environment, public health, and economy. Talking about renewables, Jeya Kumar explained the guidelines for installation of rooftop solar and the net feed-in mechanism introduced in the Tamil Nadu Solar Policy 2019. Finally he added an overview about the solar agricultural pumpsets.

Image 2: Mr. Jeya Kumar R, giving a presentation on electricity governance and renewable energy at Bangarampet

Image 3: Mr. Jeya Kumar R, giving a presentation on electricity governance and renewable energy at Chidambaram

Following the discussions around rooftop solar, Mr. Balaji M K, Researcher, CAG, gave a presentation on energy conservation and energy efficiency. He shared details about energy efficient lightingnatural ventilation and coolingstar labelling for energy efficiency appliances and energy saving tips

Picture 4: Mr. Balaji M K, giving a presentation on  energy conservation and energy efficiency at Bangarampet

Image 5: Mr. Balaji M K, giving a presentation on  energy conservation and energy efficiency at Chidambaram

Mr. Anbarasan, from a private solar firm, gave a demonstration on solar power generation at the Bangarampet capacity building meeting. He also explained about the on-grid and off-grid rooftop solar systems.

Mr. Dhanraj, Coordinator - ECC Tiruvallur and Mr. Selvaraj, Chairman, FEDCOT concluded the sessions with vote of thanks at both events.

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Capacity Building Programme on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Passive Building Concepts - Tiruvannamalai

Thu, 25/04/2019 - 20:55

Electricity Consumer Cell (ECC), Tiruvannamalai, organised a capacity building programme on “Energy efficiency, renewable energy, and passive building concepts” at Vasavi Thirumana Mandapam, Kilpennathur, Tiruvannamalai District on February 13, 2019. Electricians, masons, and consumers from the domestic, commercial, and agricultural sector were the targeted audience for the event.

Mr. V. R. Anandan, ECC Advisor, welcomed all the participants. Mr. Rama Perumal, Director, Sadayanodai Ilaignar Narpani Mandram (SINAM) explained the objectives and functioning of ECC. He spoke about the relationship of ECC with TANGEDCO and consumers in resolving consumer issues related to electricity.

Mr. Bharath Ram G N, Researcher, CAG, gave a talk on the need for consumer-awareness related to electricity including topics such as electricity bills, monitoring of electricity meter, how to file a complaint with TANGEDCO.

Mr. Jeya Kumar R, Researcher, CAG, gave a detailed presentation on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and passive building concepts. He began with the importance of electricity in our day-to-day life and how rapidly it is becoming a necessity for our nation’s development. He then presented on the current status of electricity generation in India, which is majorly from thermal power plants, which requires fossil fuels for generation. He explained the depletion of fossil fuel resources due to increasing electricity needs and their impacts on the environment. Then he gave an overview of renewable energy resources such as solar energy, wind energy, tidal energy, hydropower energy, biomass energy, and geothermal energy. Further, he highlighted the advantages and feasibilities of solar energy over other renewable energy resources with respect to capital cost, small scale level adaptation and suitability in all places.

Further, he spoke about passive building concepts, including natural lighting and ventilation; provision of space around structures; provision of green covers and selection of construction materials. In addition, he explained the importance of star labelling for appliances, standards for electrical materials, and how to use appliances efficiently. He also gave an overview of the Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) agricultural pumpsets.

Mr. N. Sridhar, a private solar manufacturer, gave a presentation on rooftop solar connections and net metering. He also presented about on-grid and off-grid solar power systems.

This was followed by an interactive session between the participants and speakers. The speakers responded to the participants' queries. The discussions revolved around a) standby power; b) installing solar agricultural pump sets with self-financing; c) availing government subsidy for solar agriculture pumpsets; d) passive building concepts to be considered by masons during construction; e) electricity tariffs; f) importance of monitoring the date of meter reading taken by the utility; g) selection of electrical hardware by electricians and its importance.      

Mr D. Ashok Kumar, Coordinator, ECC, concluded the session with a vote of thanks.

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Capacity Building Programme on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Passive Building Concepts – Tirunelveli

Thu, 25/04/2019 - 20:50

Electricity Consumer Cell (ECC), Tirunelveli, organised a capacity building programme on “Energy efficiency, renewable energy, and passive building concepts” at Sri Yoga Saibaba Kovil Campus, Ismail Nagar, Tirunelveli, on February 18, 2019. The purpose of the event was to impart knowledge and create awareness on the above topics to consumers. Consumers from the domestic and commercial categories participated in the event.

Mr. Venkatachalam, President, Tirunelveli Maavata Nugarvor Urimai Paadhukaapu Sangam (TMNUPS) welcomed all the participants. He explained the features of ECC and how it is functioning as a bridge between Tamilnadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd. (TANGEDCO) and consumers.

Mrs. S. Ratna Veni, Assistant Engineer, TANGEDCO spoke about TANGEDCO’s provisions for redressing consumer grievances. Mr. S.Shanmugam, Advisor ECC, explained about consumers’ responsibilities in conserving energy, power theft and the need to follow the rules.

Mr. Jeya Kumar R, Researcher, CAG, gave a detailed presentation on energy efficiency, renewable energy and passive building concepts. He explained concepts of energy conservation and energy efficiency at the household level, which included standards for electrical materials and other supportive modules, and star labelling for electronic appliances. He described passive building concepts such as natural lighting and ventilation, green coverage, and selection of construction materials which should be considered during the planning and construction of buildings. Further, he provided recommendations for the installation of appliances and advised the participants on how to use them efficiently. He also explained about renewable energy such as solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, tidal energy, geothermal energy and biomass energy and spoke about the advantages of solar energy.

Mr. I. Anto Jeyarajan, an official from a private solar firm, gave a presentation on rooftop solar connections and net metering. He also presented details about various buildings which installed rooftop solar in and around Tirunelveli.

Mr. S. Muthusamy, the coordinator, concluded the session with a vote of thanks.

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Capacity Building Programme on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Passive Building Concepts – Cuddalore

Thu, 25/04/2019 - 20:48

Electricity Consumer Cell (ECC), Cuddalore, organised a capacity building programme on “Energy efficiency, renewable energy, and passive building concepts” at Tirupathiripuliyur, Cuddalore, on March 26, 2019. The consumers who participated were from domestic, commercial, and agricultural sectors.

Mr. Selvaraj, Chairman, Federation of Consumer Organisations Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT) welcomed all the participants and explained the purpose of the event. 

Mr. Bharath Ram G N, Researcher, CAG, gave an introduction about the objectives and functions of ECC. He explained ECC’s relationship with Tamilnadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd. (TANGEDCO) officials in resolving consumer problems.

Mr. Jeya Kumar R, Researcher, CAG, gave a detailed presentation on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and passive building concepts. The whole session was very interactive. Participants raised queries on several topics and received appropriate responses from him. The major points discussed were a) advantages of LED bulbs over incandescent and CFL bulbs, b) advantages of LED TV over the conventional one, c) points to be considered during purchase and installation of appliances, d) how to plan a house to conserve energy by adopting passive building concepts, e) how to choose wiring materials, f) the importance of electricity meter,  g)awareness on stand by mode in appliances such as TV, laptop, air-conditioner, etc., h) benefits of solar energy, i) solar agricultural pumpsets and government schemes available, j) rooftop solar installation and net metering.

Mr. Selvaraj, Chairman, Federation of Consumer Organisation Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry (FEDCOT) concluded the session with a vote of thanks.

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Capacity Building Programme on Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Passive Building Concepts – Salem

Wed, 24/04/2019 - 20:57

Electricity Consumer Cell (ECC), Salem, organised a capacity building programme on “Energy efficiency, renewable energy, and passive building concepts” at Balamurugan Mandapam, Ammapet, Salem, on February 11, 2019. The purpose of the event was to impart knowledge and create awareness on the above topics to consumers. The target audience comprised of masons, electricians, domestic, commercial, and small scale industrial consumers. Mr J.M. Bhoopathy, President, Consumer Voice Foundation, welcomed the participants and explained ECC’s relationship with Tamilnadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Ltd. (TANGEDCO) officials in resolving consumer problems.

Mr G.N. Bharath Ram, Researcher, CAG, explained the objectives and functions of the ECC. He explained about responsibilities of consumers in the electricity sector e.g. making payments well in advance to avoid long queues, not to waste or misuse electricity.

Mr. Saravanan, Assistant Engineer, TANGEDCO, spoke about various grievance redressal mechanisms available with the utility e.g. Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF). He also stated that all consumers complaints will have to be given and accepted by the appropriate official., i.e., the Assistant Engineer.

Mr. Jeya Kumar R, Researcher, CAG Chennai, gave a presentation on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and passive building concepts. He started with the flow of electricity from energy resources to endpoint usage, i.e., various resources, generation, transmission, distribution, and end user. He spoke about the current generation processes in India (i.e., thermal energy), depletion of resources, and their impact on the environment. Then he explained the need for alternative energy resources and listed renewable energy resources such as solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, tidal energy, biomass energy, and geothermal energy. He highlighted the importance and feasibility of solar energy over other renewable sources. He elaborated the energy efficiency techniques that can be followed by households, commercial, and small scale industries, which include star labelling for appliances, standards for electrical hardware and equipment; and their maintenance. Further, he gave an overview of passive building concepts which includes natural lighting, ventilation, provision of green covers, and selection of construction materials and methods.  

Mr Siva Kumar from a private solar skills training institute,  gave a presentation on rooftop solar connections which includes calculation of required solar capacity, capital cost, payback period and net metering. He also gave a demonstration on solar power generation.

Further, there was an interactive session between the speakers and the participants. The key points discussed were a) importance of maintenance of wiring and machinery in small scale industries b) how to provide green coverage in an existing building c) availability of solar technicians in the locality d) energy loss due to the air conditioner running below 24-degree celsius  e) procedure to avail the solar net meter.

Mr. Jayaraman, retired TANGEDCO official, shared his experience about resolving complaints, with reference to different types of cases that have been resolved by TANGEDCO. He also listed the consumer side mistakes like illegal power connections, creating an obstacle for the functioning of grid e.g. constructing houses directly under grid lines.

Mr. Prabhakaran, ECC Coordinator concluded the session with a vote of thanks.

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