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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Suburbs’ power-saver plan soon in island city


   An electricity-saving incentive which helped suburban consumers reduce bills and enabled power suppliers to cut consumption, will soon be available to consumers in the island city. By the end of May, BEST will offer discounts on energy-efficient gadgets to over 10 lakh consumers, encouraging them to replace their old gadgets and cut power demand.
   The initiative was adopted in 2007 by Reliance Infrastructure and in 2009 by Tata Power, on a directive from the Maharashtra State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). It instructed all power suppliers to enter into tie-ups with manufacturers and offer energy-saving gadgets at discounted prices to consumers. This, the MERC said, would help consumers keep their power bills at affordable levels despite rising tariffs and help suppliers check power demand.
   BEST general manager Omprakash Gupta said BEST will soon introduce schemes enabling consumers to replace old tubelights, ACs and fans with energy-efficient ones. "We have an initial target of around 20,000 homes and 5,000 offices but the final savings will depend upon the type of gadgets currently in use," he said. Asked about the delay in implementing the MERC directive, he said it took nearly three years to conduct a survey to understand which areas and gadgets needed replacement in the island city. "We finished the survey in 2011, then held an awareness campaign," he said.
   Parel resident Alankar Bhat said he was looking forward to the scheme, adding, "I hope maintenance of gadgets will be free for a few initial years." Borivli resident Anagha Tambe, who availed the scheme offered by her power supplier, said replacement of old gadgets with fivestar models in January this year made a difference to her monthly power consumption and bill. "The amount I invested in these gadgets is on the higher side despite the subsidy, but I hope I will recover it in two years due to reduced power bills," said Tambe. However, another consumer, Vijaya Kavishwar said, "Rising tariffs may delay my break-even period more than I anticipated."
   Both Reliance Infrastructure and Tata Power provide star-rated refrigerators and ACs at attractive prices to consumers. "The initiative helped us save approximately 48.89 million units of electricity till date, and reduce 39,500 tonnes of carbon footprint," said R-Infra sources. "By replacing old ceiling fans, ACs and refrigerators, Tata Power saved 7 million units. It saved another 30 million units by adopting advanced load-shifting and thermal storage incentive," said a TPC source. A power expert said Mumbai consumed around 42 to 45 million units daily and only such measures could control consumption.

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