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Minsarathai Semippom

Citizen consumer and Civic Action Group, in partnership with Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE), launched a community-based energy conservation initiative in Chennai called Minsarathai  Semippom (MS). The initiative is promoted and supported by SGGSC (Societe Generale Global Solution Centre) and is an extension of the very successful Vidyut Rakshaka program conceptualised by World Resources Institute (WRI) and TIDE.

The MS program aims to conduct simple energy consumption assessments in households, in order to recommend measures to reduce electricity consumption and monthly electricity bills. Through the course of the programme, select households in Chennai are surveyed and their electricity consumption patterns are tracked and studied. Based on the study, specific and targeted recommendations are made to promote energy conservation through housekeeping and behavioural changes.

The electricity sector in India has been facing several issues over the past few decades. The prominent ones include the ever-increasing demand for electricity and the adverse effects that the conventional sources of energy have on the environment. Even though certain states can be seen investing in renewable energy, the numbers are few and scattered. In short, with respect to electricity in India, (i) the gap between demand for electricity and supply of electricity is widening; (ii) the usage of conventional sources of electricity like thermal plants are dominant and affect the environment adversely; (iii) the shift to renewable sources of energy has been gradual and inadequate to meet the demands. Given the context, it is conclusive that conserving electricity is of paramount importance.

Conservation of electricity can yield several benefits at the national, regional, and household levels. Apart from nominally reducing the demand-supply gap, efforts to conserve electricity would imply a reduction of expense on electricity at a household level and lower levels of fossil fuels burnt at regional and national levels. This translates to economic benefits in the households, increased energy efficiency in the country and a healthier environment for all. 

AIM

The principal objective of this program is to create awareness on electricity usage, reducing power consumption through behavioural changes and promoting the use of renewable energy.

MS draws from the highlights of the VidyutRakshaka program, being run in Bangalore by TIDE. It works towards (i) reducing electricity costs without compromising on comforts; (ii) countering electricity cost inflation through responsible usage; (iii) increasing savings; (iv) getting objective information about energy efficiency and (v) contributing to the environment.

MS entails surveying households and documenting information such as the number of electrical devices/appliances in a given household, the capacity and star rating of each of the appliances etc. Apart from the above information, the historical consumption pattern of the participating household is also documented and studied. The aim is to trace the usage of electricity in a given household, track their electricity consumption patterns and make customised and cost-effective recommendations based on the same. In the subsequent phases, this innovative program will try to connect consumers with appropriate resources, supplies and service providers to help implement the given recommendations. The participating households are also provided with neighbourhood averages that can help correct their individual usages. The program further seeks to study the impact following behavioural change and use of energy efficient equipment.

The essence of the initiative is community-based. Therefore, Resident Welfare Associations (RWA) have been approached to promote participation in the initiative. Further, students from institutions such as Don Bosco Technical Institute (JoeTech), Basin bridge, Women’s Christian College, Egmore and S.I.E.T College, Teynampet have been involved as stewards to promote the initiative. They have been trained to undertake the MS survey and visit different RWAs for uptake of MS. So far around 700 households in Chennai have been covered in the first of phase of MS.

On participation

1. Participation in the Minsarathai Semippom program is open to all kinds of households - rented, owned, apartment, independent house or bachelors renting common group accommodation

2. Each household is allowed one sign-up

3. Enrollment is free.

1. Reduced electricity consumption patterns in households as a direct result of behavioural changes.

2. Efficient and optimal utilization of electricity through empowerment of household consumers with adequate information.

3. Better awareness and understanding about conservation of electricity and advantages of renewable energy, among communities in Chennai.

Interim Outcomes

1. The participating household consumers understand their usage based on customized recommendations in their assessment reports.

2. The participating households reduce their power consumption and electricity bill amount based on the recommendations made.

3. Participating consumers inform other households in their community about Minsarathai Semippom and benefits around it.

4. Consumers opt to buy energy-efficient appliances.

5. Consumers are aware and informed about the conservation of electricity.

Consumers interested in the Minsarathai Semippom program are requested to write their enquiries and comments to this email address - balaji.krishnagopalan@cag.org.in