Event Reports

Webinar on Energy Efficiency and Electrical Safety by ECC Tirunelveli

Tue, 20/07/2021 - 18:00

Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG), in association with the Electricity Consumer Cell - Tirunelveli, organized a webinar on energy efficiency & electrical safety on June 22, 2021 via Zoom platform. This session was attended by over 50 electricity consumers from the Tirunelveli district.

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Dr.Ganapathy Subramaniam, Coordinator - ECC Tirunelveli presented a brief introduction about the Tirunelveli Electricity Consumer Cell, the nature of work carried out by them and the range of electricity issues handled.

Following the introduction, Mr.Shanmugam, Advisor - ECC Tirunelveli welcomed the participants of the webinar and introduced the chief guest of the session, Mrs.Siva Sathiya Valli, Head of Tirunelveli Government Museum. Mrs. Siva Sathiya, took the opportunity to deliver a special welcome address and brought to focus the significance of electricity and the need to take active measures to ensure electrical safety.

Subsequently, Mr.Balaji, Researcher, CAG introduced CAG and its work across different sectors. He also provided  an overview of CAG’s Electricity Consumer Cells initiative run in seven districts of Tamil Nadu - Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirapalli and Vellore.

Er.Petchimuthu,Assistant Executive Engineer (Safety), TANGEDCO, the key speaker of the webinar, made his  presentation on electricity, its significance, the level of dependency we have on it and the importance of electrical safety. He began by explaining how electrical accidents occur and cautioned his listeners that damaged wires or contacting electrical wires which are connected to the electricity supply have a high probability of causing electrical accidents. He stated that a dry human body is 1,00,000 Ohms resistant to electricity and that if the human body is subjected to over 80 milli Ampere of current it would be a cause of fatality. He shed light on electrical accidents that occured during 2020-2021 and advised electricity consumers to strictly follow the below best practices:

  1. Use electrical wires and wiring connections that are  ISI certified. 
  2. Engage an electrician who is licensed by Govt of Tamil Nadu to do household wiring.
  3. Install earth leakage circuit breaker near the electricity meter in the premises to avoid electrical accidents.
  4. Ensure that the switch is in OFF condition, before inserting a plug into the socket.
  5. Use heavy appliances like Refrigerator, Grinder, Motor, Iron Box with three-pin sockets. No connection should be given to the plug point without a socket.
  6. Consider avoiding usage of immersion type water heaters since it is among the leading cause for electrocution. 
  7. Place the electricity meter where there are no leakages and ensure that the meter is  easy to access for assessment/taking meter readings. . 
  8. Surround iron pipes which are used to support electrical wires with PVC pipes for  insulation. 
  9. Do not overload an electrical socket by connecting more than one appliance to it. 
  10. Do not dry clothes or tie animals to an electric pole or  supporting fixtures. 
  11. Avoid  constructing buildings  near or under hanging electrical wires 
  12. Be sure to get  proper approval from TANGEDCO before cutting down branches of trees near electrical wires. 
  13. Avoid tying decoration lights  to trees or iron gates.. 
  14. Do not stand under trees or electric poles or empty land when lightning and thunder strikes.
  15. Avoid electrical usage in areas which show signs of stagnant/leaking water.

He concluded the presentation by sharing anecdotes to support his advice on what an average electricity consumer should and shouldn’t do. He further guided the participants on what consumers should do if  they are  affected by electrical accidents. He also shared TANGEDCO’s fuse-off call number (1912) and Minnagam’s customer care number ( 94987 94987) with the participants. 

Mr. Muthusamy, Junior Consultant, ECC Tirunelveli concluded the webinar with a Vote of Thanks. 

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Media Workshop on Trans fat

Tue, 18/05/2021 - 13:34

Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG), in association with the Press Institute of India (PII), organized an online media workshop on March 26, 2021 to inform the media about the seriousness of trans fat issue, the regulations in place, the need for effective implementation of regulations and a change in cooking/eating habits. The speakers of the workshop included Dr Sumitra Shanmugham - senior medical practitioner, Ms. Rina Mukherji - senior journalist and Mr. Dhakshanamoorthy - senior reporter. The session was attended by around 55 media reporters and consumer activists from 7 districts in Tamil Nadu - Nilgiris, Tiruvarur, Cuddalore, Tirupur, Tirunelveli, Salem and Tiruvannamalai. Mr Sashi Nair, Director of PII welcomed the media stakeholders and Ms Saroja, Director - Consumer Protection, CAG gave a brief introduction on the topic ‘trans fat and its harms’ and also talked about the work done by CAG to address the trans fat problem. 

Ms Savitha, Researcher, CAG presented on the policies governing trans fats globally, and in India. She highlighted that, ‘Globally more than 5 lakh people die because of cardiovascular disease due to trans fat consumption and in India, the number stands at about 60,000 deaths’. Hence, the World Health Organisation (WHO) put a global target of 2023 to eliminate trans fat from global food supply. WHO gave a strategic action plan REPLACE, which is a step by step process to eliminate trans fats from raw materials to finished products’. She also listed the countries that have banned trans fat production. With respect to India, she stated that ‘India has committed to eliminate trans-fat from the food supply by 2022, a year ahead of the WHO mandate. As of now, the Food Safety and Standards Regulations, 2011 (FSSR) allow trans-fat at 3% by weight in oils and fats, which was effective from January 2021 and allow trans fat at 2% from January 2022. It is also noted that under FSSR (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales), food products which use edible oils and fats as an ingredient should not contain industrial trans fatty acids more than 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product, starting January 1, 2022’.  

Dr Sumitra Shanmugham, Senior Medical Practitioner, Chennai spoke about the ill effects of trans fats on human health. She started by stressing how even trans fat consumption in small amounts can increase the Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDLs) and decrease the High-Density Lipoproteins (HDLs) leading to  harmful effects in the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. It also causes weight gain in general, leading to obesity, fat accumulation in the abdomen and indirectly cancer. She emphasised that  children should avoid fried foods and snacks from stores, as these are high in trans fats. . Trans fat intake could create hormonal imbalance and irregular periods and there is some evidence that it could cause  Poly-Cystic Ovarian Disease. High trans fats consumption is known to be associated with hypertension and diabetes which can be risk factors for complications both before and during birth in pregnant women. She explained that pregnant women can also pass on the implications of poor dietary choices to their unborn babies, or postnatally, through lactation. Finally, a post-menopausal woman, who is already going through hormonal changes,  can develop breast and uterus cancer due to high trans fat intake. The risks of trans fat consumption in a woman’s diet can therefore be lifelong, with potential to affect the next generation even. Trans fat intake consumption in men is linked  to poor sperm quality and count. The doctor ended her talk by giving  a few tips on how reading labels can help develop good eating habits,  to be watchful for words like shortenings, interesterification, etc., and to cook oil in a temperature less than the smoking point of oil. She signed off by saying ‘Eating intelligently is an art’.

Questions to journalists

How frequently does reporting of health/food related issues happen during extraordinary events like election, COVID 19, etc?
Reply from Mr. Dhakshanamoorthy, senior reporter
 - According to him, all media at all time, will allocate a particular time/ column for every issue. Usually, print media gives importance to issues viewed as more pressing. Generally, media houses want to package their news in a  certain way to get attention among the public. He therefore recommended using celebrities to convey messages that might not automatically get traction. 

Reply from Ms. Rina Mukherji, senior journalist - The frequency of news related to science, health and food is comparatively low mainly because only a few journalists have a science background to actually understand and convey the gravity of a scientific finding. Today, the media has become money driven and not many companies are interested in publishing such news. For instance, pharmaceutical companies are not always interested in publishing all the data relevant to their products.  With respect to trans fat, she said that very little data was available which made it difficult to convince the public; and for reading food labels, most of the snacks are sold unpacked and regulations are therefore hard to implement even when we know that these products are high in trans fats content. . 

How to make trans fat related news, newsworthy?
Reply from Mr. Dhakshanamoorthy, senior reporter
 - He acknowledged that this can be difficult because even when someone has died from an illness, it is hard to make a connection between his lifestyle/ dietary choices, the resulting illness and the cause of death. The public therefore tends to be a bit sceptical of data on why certain foods are dangerous. However, he added that using celebrities to convey a message always captures the public’s attention. 

Reply from Ms. Rina Mukherji, senior journalist - Usage of data on disease is the best way to get the news published. 

Finally, Dr Somasundaram, Designated Officer, Chennai gave an understanding on how reused cooking oil for frying bajji, cauliflower, chicken and fish are resold as deepam oil near temples. They are hoping to start monitoring cooking oil usage in low-end shops of T nagar and Saidapet after elections. 

The session ended with an open house.  

Question 1: How difficult is it for the government to make the public aware about trans fats?
Reply from Designated Officer:
 He said people are totally ignorant and they have poor purchasing power. People tend to buy things that are cheap because of their socioeconomic status. Hence, production of trans fats has to be stopped before raising awareness among the public. 

Question 2: Why is the focus given to low income and small shop vendors extensively?
Reply from Designated Officer:
 He replied that the low income and small shop vendors are large in number compared to high-end hoteliers and hence we should educate them to bring a change of attitude towards reusing cooking oil, although enforcement is the major way to eliminate trans fats.

Question 3: When can we have the amended regulation in action?
Reply from Designated Officer:
 He said that it is a long process and will definitely take many years to see the success, adding that the government is committed to this cause.

Ms Saroja concluded the session by informing participants that the government is working on the alternatives for such oils and fats, but the responsibility falls on each and every one of us being consumers. Eating intelligently is important.

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Tackling Road Crashes: the Tamil Nadu experience

Mon, 17/05/2021 - 13:38

As part of the National Road Safety Month, on February 18th 2021, CAG held a webinar on road safety in Tamil Nadu.  The highlight of the webinar was the perspective shared by Mr. Pramod Kumar, IPS who heads the State Traffic Planning Wing of the Tamilnadu Police. With the recent strides made by Tamil Nadu in reducing road crash fatality, he was able to throw light on how these have been achieved and how the government is not waiting to rest on its laurels but looking to improve the state’s track record so the state can reach zero deaths. He also shared some key statistics on road crashes in the state.

He highlighted the efforts to ensure seamless planning and coordination among the various government agencies involved and how those efforts have paid off. One such example has been to set up highway patrols (as highways see some of the highest number of crash fatalities) so that response time is reduced considerably. Medical facilities and ensuring that trained personnel are able to provide immediate lifesaving help in ambulances was another key point.

He also touched upon various aspects of the law and the role of each stakeholder – driver, CSOs, parents, children, government agencies, etc. He highlighted that underage driving has become a very regrettably common phenomenon and this is an issue the police is gearing up to crack down on. He pointed out that as per the law, the parents/guardian are held responsible.

During the question and answer session, in response to a question on whether the amended Motor Vehicles Act, 2019 would be implemented in Tamil Nadu, he responded that it is under consideration with the government and is likely to be implemented soon.

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Are you covered?

Mon, 17/05/2021 - 12:12

Over the years, as CAG has interacted with citizens across Tamil Nadu on road safety issues, we have noticed that many of us are unclear on insurance matters. Do we need insurance to drive a vehicle? What is third party insurance? What is mandated by law?

Hence, on 19th January 2021, CAG organised a webinar on insurance and road safety titled – Are you covered? K. Sathyajit from Futurisk Insurance Broking Pvt Ltd and Mr. Vijayaraghavan, Advocate spoke. Both speakers have had many years of experience and knowledge in this sector and were able to break down the complex space of insurance for the layperson.

Mr. Sathyajit noted that insurance is one of the most important but overlooked aspects of our financial planning. Most people consider it to be an expenditure instead of recognising that it is an important tool that hedges against risk. He then succinctly explained relevant types of insurance – health, accident, motor vehicle, and life insurance.

He stressed the point that taking health insurance is critical as in India the private sector hospital costs are high and social security is very limited. He noted that premiums are low when one is younger since the expectation is of low disease burden and so it is best to take a health insurance policy when one is in their 20s or early 30s.

Talking about insurance related to vehicles he noted that motor vehicle insurance is mandatory in India as is third party liability insurance for any vehicle driven on public roads.

This was followed by insights from Mr. Vijayaraghavan who is an advocate at Madras High Court, and an author of books on legal matters. He too underscored the point that insurance must be viewed as an investment. He also noted that reading the fine print is very important when it comes to such policies! He addressed the common misconception that third party (in a motor vehicle accident) refers to passengers in the vehicle when it actually refers to those who are outside the vehicle. For example if a two-wheeler and a car collide and in the process a pedestrian is injured, the pedestrian is covered under third party insurance. The pillion rider or the car passengers, however, are not covered unless the vehicle owner has taken a comprehensive insurance policy.

Noting that ‘act only policies’ are those that meet the bare minimum required by law while comprehensive insurance refers to anything that is wider but this may not cover everybody and anybody. Under a comprehensive insurance policy there can be a component called own damage cover which as the name says covers damage to the vehicle. This, along with third party policy is a comprehensive policy package and usually has a built in add on to cover the passenger.

Mr. Vijayaraghavan also clarified that while a hired driver of a vehicle is covered under certain labour laws, if the driver is the owner of the vehicle then she is not covered. Tracing some of the interesting history of how the courts have tried and been unsuccessful in rectifying this, he noted that part of the problem was that citizens buying a vehicle baulk at the increased premium forgetting that the purpose of the insurance is not to protect yourself but to benefit your family being left behind.

These were some of the details and myths around insurance that the speakers clarified. This was followed by a question and answer session. The webinar ended with a vote of thanks to both speakers for sharing useful insights into the insurance space and emphasizing the importance of understanding and taking appropriate insurance for oneself, to the participants.

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Online quiz competition on Electricity Governance, Energy Efficiency, and Renewable Energy (January 2021 - March 2021)

Tue, 20/04/2021 - 14:01

During the COVID-19 pandemic, online quiz competitions were conducted for students from classes VI to XII. The aim was to engage with younger citizens raising their awareness of the working of the electricity sector. The topics covered were electricity governance, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. E- certificates were sent to students who took the online quiz through their registered email address.

The first round of competitions were held from June to September 2020. As these were very well received, we extended the  online quiz competition to school students of grades  6 to 12 in Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirappalli, and Vellore for the month of October 2020 to December 2020. 

The questions for the competition covered:  

  • Electricity governance
  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewable energy

A total of around  5,000 students participated in the quiz and the number of participants from each of the 7 ECC districts are given below.

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Image 1 - No. of students participated in the online quiz competition

A certificate of participation was issued to all the students that participated. A sample of this is  attached below:

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Image 2 - Sample certification of participation

From the responses given by the participants, it was found that more than 50% of the questions from each topic were answered correctly (image 3). 

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Image 3 - Overview of marks scored in each topic

This reflects that the students have some awareness and knowledge on the above mentioned topics. While this is encouraging, persistent efforts to increase the awareness levels are necessary. CAG will continue to promote energy efficiency, conservation and renewable energy among school children in Tamil Nadu.

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Social Media Campaign (October - December 2020)

Tue, 20/04/2021 - 13:50

Social media plays a significant role in this digital era across all sectors. This is especially so during the COVID-19 pandemic situation, where consumers are left with little option than to communicate virtually using social media.  Considering the potential of social media platforms, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) has been executing several social media campaigns to create awareness among citizens on electricity related issues such as understanding one’s electricity bill, the bill calculations during the pandemic, energy efficiency, energy conservation, renewable energy and so on. 

CAG’s social media campaign took the  form of videos and posters and were shared on CAG’s FacebookInstagram, and Twitter pages. The posters were aimed at spreading awareness among consumers and enabling them to conserve energy by following best practices. In addition, the Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs), established by CAG in seven districts of Tamil Nadu viz Tiruvallur, Cuddalore, Tirunelveli, Salem, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruchirappalli, and Vellore also actively promoted these posters on their WhatsApp groups, thus extending the reach of the campaign. We were able to reach around 500 consumers across the seven districts with our messages on energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable energy. 

Posters were shared on social media platforms at regular intervals. Through this social media campaign, CAG has been able to reach a number of consumers to spread awareness on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

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Image 1 - Posted on December 23, 2020

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Image 2 - Posted on December 16, 2020

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Image 3 - Posted on December 7, 2020

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Image 4 - Posted on December 3, 2020

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Image 5 - Posted on September 29, 2020

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Image 6 - Posted on September 25, 2020

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Image 7 - Posted on September 21, 2020

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Image 8 - Posted on September 16, 2020

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ECC outreach activities during COVID-19 pandemic - Advertisements

Tue, 20/04/2021 - 08:40

Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs), used to conduct outreach meetings twice in a month in their respective districts (Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Tirunelveli, Cuddalore, Salem, Tiruchirapalli, and Vellore) to sensitise consumers about the ECCs and help them by clarifying their queries related to electricity problems and to create awareness on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

Due to COVID-19 outbreak, Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs) were unable to conduct physical outreach meetings. Therefore, the ECCs started using online platforms to reach the consumers.  They conduct e-outreach meetings, and social media campaigns. 

In addition, since May 2020, ECCs started advertising activities which include a) handbill distribution, b) newspaper advertisements, and c) television advertisements. The main objectives of these activities are i) To let people know about ECCs,  their  functioning, and  contact details with additional details of  helping consumers with their complaints / queries related to electricity ii) To create awareness on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy by providing details and tips. 

Handbills

The handbills were distributed to the consumers either in person with all the COVID-19 precaution measures or by placing as insets in  newspapers. All the ECCs conduct  this activity once in a month in their respective districts.

ECC Advertisements

Image 1:printed handbill

ECC Advertisements

Image 2: Handbills distributed by placing inside Newspaper.

ECC Advertisements

Image3:Handbills distributed in person.

Newspaper advertisements of size 120 sq. cm were published in major newspapers of the respective ECC districts. This activity was carried out once a month by all ECCs in their respective districts.

ECC Advertisements

Image 4:advertisement printed on newspaper

ECC Advertisements

Image 5:advertisement printed on newspaper

ECC Advertisements

Image 6:advertisement printed on newspaper

Scrolling type television advertisements were given in the local television channels. The advertisements were broadcasted 10 times a day at 60-minute intervals for 30 days.
 

ECC Advertisements

Image 7: scrolling type advertisement on local television channel

ECC Advertisements

Image 8: scrolling type advertisement on local television channel

As a result of the advertisement activities, the ECCs are able to reach a large number of people, estimated at over 100,000, in the last few   months. Also, due to the widespread publicity, the number  of  complaints/queries from consumers have significantly increased . 

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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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ECC outreach activities during COVID 19 - Advertisements (October - December 2020)

Tue, 20/04/2021 - 08:24

Electricity Consumer Cells (ECCs) work in their respective districts (Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Tirunelveli, Cuddalore, Salem, Tiruchirapalli, and Vellore) to help consumers by addressing their concerns around electricity issues and to raise awareness about energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. To further their reach, ECCs have started advertising their services in various channels. Some of the means of communication are a) handbill distribution, b) newspaper advertisements, and c) television advertisements. The main objectives are i) To let people know about ECCs,  their  functions, and  contact details with additional details of  helping consumers with their complaints / queries related to electricity ii) To create awareness on energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy by providing details and tips.

Handbills

Handbills were distributed to consumers either in person, with all of the COVID-19 precautions, or as insets in newspapers. This operation was carried out once a month by all ECCs in their respective districts.
 

ECC Advertisements

Image 1:printed handbill

ECC Advertisements

Image 2: Handbills distributed by placing inside Newspaper.

ECC Advertisements

Image3:Handbills distributed in person.

Newspaper advertisements of size 120 sq. cm were published in major newspapers of the respective ECC districts. This activity was carried out once a month by all ECCs in their respective districts.

ECC Advertisements

Image 4:advertisement printed on newspaper

ECC Advertisements

Image 5:advertisement printed on newspaper

ECC Advertisements

Image 6:advertisement printed on newspaper

Scrolling type television advertisements were given in the local television channels. The advertisements were broadcasted 10 times a day at 60-minute intervals for 30 days.
 

ECC Advertisements

Image 7: scrolling type advertisement on local television channel

ECC Advertisements

Image 8: scrolling type advertisement on local television channel

As a result of continuing the advertisement activities during October 2020 to December 2020, ECCs were able to reach more people. ECCs reached 30,000 consumers during these three months. The number of complaints and queries received from consumers also considerably increased during this period. 

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