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.