Electricity Board’s Leaky Bucket – Justice Rocks Concert, Sunday, March 16, 2014, at SPACES, Besant Nagar

(Join the event on Facebook)

Leaky Bucket Logo by Trotsky Marudu

“Tamil Nadu reportedly has an electricity deficit of about 2000 MW. It is this deficit that is behind our legendary power cuts. What if we were to tell you that this deficit can be bridged quite simply, without much cost and without setting up a single new power plant?” ( via Leaky Bucket’s Concept Note)

Youth Action on Climate Change, Chennai, is getting ready this week to show us how to run an entire evening of music, theatre, comedy and satire with a bicycle powered generator. The SPACES wall has been painted with images of power plants, protesters, a grim reaper character with a bucket full of holes, and in nice bold red letters: TNEB. 😀

This year, the Justice Rocks concert is un-sponsored by the Electricity Board. Leaky Bucket will be an evening of finding possibilities. How can we save electricity, instead of producing more of it that we can waste? Wait! Do we really waste electricity? Leaky Bucket writes:

“…With water it is more visible. We see the Metrowater tankers spilling precious sweet water. We see leaky pipes, and overflowing overhead tanks. The losses and wastage of electricity are not always that obvious. But they are equally large, and easily avoidable…”

So where do we lose all of this electricity? Leaky Bucket’s concept note points out that from 2012 to 2013, in the span of just one year, Tamil Nadu lost over 20 percent of the electricity pumped into its grid and distribution infrastructure. “In the 180,000 megawatts of electricity generated in India, 72,000 megawatts, 40 percent is lost or wasted.” (via Koodankulam FAQ) Leaky Bucket finds the holes in the bucket:

  1. Transmission & Distribution Loss: Official figures state that about 20 percent of all electricity that is pumped into Tamil Nadu’s grid and distribution infrastructure is lost due to inefficient transmission and distribution even before it reaches consumers. This is solely technical losses, and does not include theft and other commercial losses. In 2012-2013, Tamil Nadu’s peak demand was 12,700 MW. Only 11000 MW was supplied to consumers, and there was a shortage of 1700 MW. Of the 13,200 MW that was generated and poured into the grid, 20 percent — or 2200 MW — was lost in transmission and distribution inefficiencies due to use of substandard material and equipment, and poor management of load and distribution infrastructure. If losses were brought down to, say, 4 percent as in Japan, only 500 MW from the 13,200 MW would be lost. No deficit. No power cuts. The T&D losses are a big hole in the bucket.
  2. Agricultural Pumpsets: Agri pumpsets are horribly inefficient, and use a lot of electricity to draw out water. We do not have an accurate figure for how much is consumed in this sector because agricultural consumption is not metered. It is widely known that State Electricity Boards inflate figures for agricultural consumption by showing T&D losses as agri consumption to avail of state subsidies for the sector and to downplay inefficiency. Metering agricultural pumpsets will give us an accurate figure of T&D losses and the opportunities to reduce the same. Introducing energy efficient pumpsets can yield savings of 30 to 40 percent from the overall agri consumption. Finally, planting choices and agricultural practices need to change from water-intensive crops such as sugarcane and rice. Free and unmetered electricity and water-intensive crops have led to electricity shortage and falling groundwater levels.
  3. Stupid Buildings: Commercial buildings, particularly luxury hotels, IT companies and the new glass and steel buildings are wasters of electricity. For one, much of the consumption there is for luxury and not survival. Secondly, if they are built smartly, they will not consume as much electricity as they do now. For instance, many of these buildings use glass frontage. Glass traps heat and increases cooling costs. To reduce cooling costs, the glass is tinted. This prevents the abundant daylight available in our state from lighting up the buildings. So these stupid buildings use air-conditioners and lighting 24×7.
  4. Wasteful Consumption: Elections are around the corner. Political parties will start setting up garish decorations — to light up their street corner events or flex banners. Miles of road stretches will be lit up by tubelights with stolen electricity. Advertising billboards are another area of wasteful consumption. 100 units of electricity is more than sufficient to power an average home for a month. 25 large billboards will consume in a day what is sufficient for an average family for a month. If electricity is truly scarce, how is it that hotels, malls and rich houses waste so much electricity in cooling, lighting and other luxuries just because they can pay for it. Consider this: Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani’s monthly electricity bill at his 75-storeyed house in Mumbai is Rs. 76 lakhs. The house consumes 55,000 units a month, or the equivalent of 550 families.
  5. Commercial and Domestic Consumers: The devices we use at home and in our commercial and industrial buildings also leave us with plenty of opportunity to reduce wastage. A Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL) uses only 25 percent of the electricity required to produce the same amount using an incandescent lamp (bulb). So, a 100W bulb can be replaced with a 25W CFL without any reduction in light. While the bulb will consume 1 unit in 10 hours, a CFL will only consume 0.25 units. Similar improvements are possible for refrigeration, fans, pumpsets, grinders and other common household appliances. One study estimates that replacing all incandescent bulbs with CFLs in Tamil Nadu can yield a savings of 2000 MW (far more than our current deficit)

Efficiency enhancement measures are very inexpensive in comparison to capacity enhancement measures. While conservation and efficiency improvement cost about Rs. 50 lakhs per megawatt saved, setting up a nuclear plant will cost about Rs. 26 crores per megawatt of production capacity. Coal costs about Rs. 7 crores per megawatt; solar about Rs. 8 crores and wind about Rs. 4 crores/megawatt.

Leaky Bucket invites everyone for an open evening of music, comedy, and cycling. Join them to ask the Government to improve efficiency, reduce losses and curtail wastage. Follow them on Facebook. Let’s sing, laugh and dance, for we don’t need any more power plants.

shared by samyuktha pc. 


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