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1st seminar on energy efficiency/conservation and renewable energy, Salem

A seminar to disseminate awareness on energy efficiency/conservation and renewable energy to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) was conducted by CAG in association with the Consumer Rights Movement and Consumer Voice Foundation on 8th April 2024. Around 45 participants from several MSMEs in and around Salem took part in the event. 

This seminar was organised under CAG’s initiative, ‘Accelerating Clean Energy Transition by Improving Stakeholder Participation for Electricity Governance in India’. This initiative, launched in January 2024, includes work in five Indian states - Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Tripura.  

Participants during the discussion

The event began with the welcome address by  Mr J M Boopathi, Consumer Rights Movement and Consumer Voice Foundation.  He set out the objective of the seminar, and then introduced the dignitaries to the audience. 

Mr Boopathi during the welcome address

Rotarian Mr.V Sivakumar, Rotary Governor 2024-25, Salem gave the special address. He started his speech by stressing that resource depletion is a great concern and now is the right time to take action towards conservation. Highlighting the importance of awareness creation programmes to capacitate electricity consumers, he recommended conducting more awareness and capacity-building programmes for younger generations. This will help them become responsible consumers and contribute to building a sustainable society.

Mr Sivakumar stressing the importance of awareness programmes

Vanathi B, Researcher - CAG, briefed the audience  about CAG’s current project  ‘Accelerating Clean Energy Transition by Improving Stakeholder Participation for Electricity Governance in India’, its objectives and action plan. In addition, she elucidated the importance of entrepreneurs being familiar with electricity rules and regulations to save on their organisations' energy bills and also take part in clean energy transition.

The audience listening to the project briefing presentation of Ms Vanathi

Kirubakaran B, Researcher, CAG spoke about the scope of energy conservation and energy efficiency in Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME). He also explained the methodology of Energy Audits, which is a significantly useful tool for energy conservation in MSMEs. He further gave insights about the Promotion of Energy Audit and Conservation of Energy (PEACE) scheme of Tamil Nadu launched and managed by the state government’s MSME  Department. The PEACE scheme aims to promote the energy efficiency of MSME units in Tamil Nadu. It provides subsidies to conduct energy audits and the purchase of retrofit and energy-efficient appliances/technologies to improve energy efficiency, based on the recommendations of the  audit.

Mr Kirubakaran, during his presentation

Mr Balu, NIRT Renewable Energy Pvt Ltd discussed the difference between on-grid and off-grid solar energy systems. He clarified audience queries on the money-saving benefits of feeding any excess electricity produced by their Rooftop Solar Systems (RTS) into the grid. He also outlined the subsidy rate and the process of residential rooftop solar system installation under the recently launched PM residential rooftop solar scheme - PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana.

Mr Balu elaborating on rooftop solar installation and working

Mr K Duraisamy, Retired Executive Engineer of Tamilnadu Electricity Board discussed the official mechanisms available to reach TANGEDCO for grievance redressal. Electricity consumers in Tamil Nadu can utilise any of the following to get their grievances resolved and doubts clarified:

  • Contact Minnagam - TANGEDCO’s 24x7 customer care call centre via their helpline number 94987 94987
  • Attend monthly grievance meetings in their respective EB division office and express their complaints and queries directly to the Superintendent Engineer.
  • File their complaints in Consumer Grievance Redressal Forums (CGRF),  framed as per the Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission Regulation, and functioning in every distribution circle office.

He advised the audience to adopt simple, conscious behavioural measures like switching off appliances whenever not in use and using ACs at 24-26 degrees Celsius to conserve electricity. Furthermore, he touched upon the concept of captive solar i.e. obtaining electricity generated by solar plants installed in remote locations for their comapanies’ electricity needs. Industries can either buy electricity from owners of captive solar power plants or establish their own, depending on their financial situation.

Mr Duraisamy, while explaining the grievance redressal mechanisms

Mr Jeyaraman, a former employee of TNEB emphasised the importance of consumers knowing how the electricity sector works, including its associated policies, rules, and regulations. According to him, consumers' participation in the sector is crucial as they are key stakeholders in creating a responsible system of electricity production and consumption. Pamphlets prepared by Mr Jeyaraman on Tamil Nadu Electricity Commission’s amendments to Distribution Standards of Performance Regulations, 2004 were distributed to the participants.

Mr Jeyaraman nudging participants towards a participatory approach in the electricity sector

Dignitaries with the booklet prepared by Jeyaraman and CAG guidebooks

A vote of thanks delivered by Mr Srinivas, Consumer Rights Movement and Consumer Voice Foundation marked the closure of the seminar.

Mr Srinivas giving the Vote of thanks

During the event, participant-entrepreneurs who already have installed renewable energy and/or energy-efficient technologies in their companies shared their experiences on how the adoption of such measures has been beneficial for their companies in reducing electricity wastage, saving money on their electricity bills and increasing their profit margin.      

Experience and feedback sharing by the participants



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