Heavy on the purse?
for a country that suffers from chronic power failures and electricity deficiency, India has been the slowest off the block to implement any kind of energy efficiency regulations. Electrical appliances and products continue to be sold without any labelling or rating process to measure their energy efficiency. The result: the consumers pay hefty electricity bills and the states hinge on the brink of a grid collapse every other day.
The potential of savings from getting electricity efficient goods in the markets remains unexplored but all experts aver that the savings can be tremendous. Imagine the colossal savings if all the houses in Delhi or Mumbai alone were to use a 20 per cent more efficient refrigerators or air conditioners?
So what is holding India back when other countries, not only the developed ones but also developing ones in South and Southeast Asia, have got their act together? While industry experts like to keep mum on record, one senior executive in a white good multinational remarks snidely, “I can only say it’s Indian democracy at work. It took us nearly four to five years just to put together the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.”
He refers to the Energy Conservation Act (eca) that was passed in October 2001. When the parliament gave its consent to the act, the government went to town proclaiming it as only the second piece of legislation of its kind in the world. A year down the line, the act remains largely unimplemented. It intended, like so many other pieces of Indian legislation, well though.
Act in abeyance The act provided for the formation of a bureau of energy efficiency (bee) under the Union ministry of power. The bureau, which was formerly notified only in March 2002, is to work out norms for conservation of energy in all forms.
Its prime objective is to reduce energy intensity in the Indian economy. The management of bee is vested in the governing council, headed by the Union minister of power and comprises secretaries of various ministries, officers of technical agencies and representatives of manufacturers, consumers and state governments. bee has just come into shape with its designated director-general only recently taking office.
The Act provides for the setting up of a Energy Conservation Fund also.
One of the most important features of the act relates to standards and labelling. The Act seeks to:
Evolve minimum energy consumption and performance standards for notified equipment and appliances;
Prohibit manufacture, sale and import of equipment which does not conform to the standards;
Introduce a labelling scheme for notified appliances;
But with the coordinating bureau being formed only recently, all the objectives yet remain enshrined in the legislation books alone.
Labelling and ratings Providing information to consumers on the energy efficiency performance of new appliances is a well-known and widespread energy efficiency measure. Labelling programmes draw the attention of consumers to the energy consumption of their appliances. Two general approaches to labelling exist