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1st Capacity - Building Workshop, Salem

CAG has initiated the ‘Accelerating Clean Energy Transition by Improving Stakeholder Participation for Electricity Governance in India’ project in five Indian states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Tripura from January 2024. The initiative aims to improve stakeholder participation in electricity governance to accelerate clean energy transition in India. Stakeholders here refer to various consumer categories, CSOs, consumer groups, resident welfare associations, small and medium enterprises, trade associations, media, local communities, etc. CAG has partnered with local civil society (CSO) / consumer organisations to promote the same through capacity-building, advocating for their interests, and promoting energy efficiency and renewable clean energy transition.

In Tamil Nadu, CAG has partnered with the Consumer Rights Movement and Consumer Voice Foundation and started the project in Salem. The first capacity-building workshop in Salem was conducted on 12th March 2024.

Dignitaries of the program

The event began with the opening speech of Mr C Govindan, Tamil Nadu Min Amaipaalargal Mathiya Sangam (TMAMS) followed by the welcome speech of Mr J M Boopathi, Consumer Rights Movement and Consumer Voice Foundation. They introduced the speakers to the participants and the objective of the gathering.                           

Mr J M Boopathi delivering the welcome speech

Dr N Gunavarthini, Executive Engineer of Tamilnadu Electricity Board in Salem East highlighted the importance of efficient generation, distribution and consumption of electricity in Tamil Nadu. She emphasized the need for a shift towards electricity generation from renewable resources and pointed out that the production of electricity from thermal power to satisfy the increasing demand is only contributing to global warming and resource depletion.  Furthermore, Dr Gunavarthini explained the importance of circuit breakers for protection against short circuits, voltage fluctuations and overload. She also explained the existing options like Minnagam to file complaints and get redressal for common issues such as meter defects, electricity poles/transmission line damages and serious safety issues like electrocutions.

Dr N Gunavarthini addressing the gathering

Mr Bharath Ram, Researcher, CAG presented an overview of the project and the expected outcomes. He then elaborated on the electricity consumer rights and responsibilities quoting Electricity (Rights of Consumers) Rules, 2020. 

Mr Bharath Ram demystifying the electricity consumers’ rights and the redressal mechanisms

Mr Sivakumar, NIRT Renewable Energy Pvt Ltd, elaborated on the residential rooftop solar system installation mechanisms, and the associated government subsidy and solar loan options. He briefed about the Central Financial Assistance (CFA) offered under the recently launched Prime Minister rooftop solar scheme and how to apply for this.

Mr Sivakumar explains the adoption of solar for household electricity needs

Mr A Jayaraman, a former employee of TNEB spoke about the importance of electricity consumers' awareness and participation in energy transition amid frequent changes in weather events.  He highlighted how extreme weather and frequent changes in weather events could directly impact electricity demand and supply, giving an example of the recent heat waves witnessed by the state.

Mr Jayaraman briefing on electricity consumers' awareness of the sectoral mechanisms

Discussions around participants' grievances and doubts in areas like meter malfunction, getting new service connections, changes from single-phase to three-phase service connections and temporary to permanent domestic/industrial service connections also happened during the last part of the event. Around 9 complaints were received and recorded from the participants. These will now be followed up.

The event concluded with familiarising the audience with Minnagam - TANGEDCO’s 24x7 customer care call centre; working with the Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF); and how to access current renewable energy initiatives. 

Participants during the discussion

Aahanal Vaanoli 91.2 FM, a local community radio in Salem broadcast the event to spread awareness about the event and the importance of consumer participation in the electricity sector.



Print Media Coverage -  JustNowSalem, Dinamalar, Dinakaran

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