In the current crisis, Friday Gurgaon spoke to citizens across the City – in gated communities, HUDA sectors, ‘irregular’ colonies—as well as state officials—to find a way out of this crisis. We also asked our readers whether they are taking any measures to save electricity. It came out clearly that they need to use power efficiently – and are taking measures to preserve it. But it would require a concerted effort, from the civil society as well as the government, to make people more aware that energy saved is energy produced.
Abhimaniyu Bhatia, a Gurgaon based architect, says that the current crisis could be used as an opportunity as well, if the people are made aware about saving energy and maximising its usage. Bhatia says, “The manner in which buildings have been designed and constructed, they demand 24-hours cooling; and this is one reason the demand for power has increased so much.”
Residents who have been facing the searing heat, as well as suffering the inefficiency of DHBVN and other related agencies agree that there is need to save energy. But in a lighter vein, they also say that the power must be supplied first, before they think of saving it.
Sanjay Shrivastava, a city resident, asks: Give examples of power wastage? We already don’t have power for 8-12 hours. We need to mass petition the sleeping government to generate more, through conventional and alternate sources. Gujarat has just set up a 300 MW solar plant. Homes also need to instal solar and wind energy based lighting, which will take the load off the grid. These are ready solutions.
The condition of elite colonies is also not good. Not only HUDA sectors, but colonies set up by DLF, Unitech, Ansals and several other builders, are suffering – as adequate supply in not available.
Abhinav Sahai, a resident of DLF Phase III, says, “For the last few days, power comes for 15-20 minutes, and then goes off for 1 hour or so. The same cycle repeats the entire day. Earlier there used to be cuts (for about 6-7 hours), but there was regular power also for hours; now there is hardly any power. There is no respite during the day or the night. With this heat and no AC, we can barely sleep during the nights – waking up with drowsy eyes in the morning. Also, because of the power situation, water has also become an issue.”
Gurgaon power is going from bad to worse. We need to learn from the mistakes, so that next year it does not happen again. Shalini Arora Kochhar, a resident of the premium World Spa, says that while her apartment complex has a power back-up, they are ensuring that electricity is not wasted, and air-conditioning is used optimally. “Living in a condominium with 100 percent back up we are not affected as much, but we do realise the situation, with the frequent switch to the generator. My heart goes out to people who have to suffer it head on. My concern is also for the life of my expensive electrical and electronic gadgets. I have already had to change the compressors on my ACs, thanks to this insane power situation. Well, as for ensuring that power is not being wasted... my children are sharing a room through this heat wave”, says Kochhar.
A number of Gurgaon residents told Friday Gurgaon that they are doing whatever little they can, to save power. Manas Arvind, a Gurgaon resident, says that he is angry and concerned with the extremely poor planning – both for the power supply as well as the management of urban areas. “DHBVN is extremely inefficient in managing large issues, and the State cannot produce the major part of its needs. A large number of houses in Gurgaon are fully air conditioned, and most residents don’t care about the wastage. Though our house is air conditioned, we have also installed a good cooler – which is used during the day, to trap the temperature. Everyone must understand the value of keeping appliances and lights off, when not in use. We have made it a game, for our daughter to hunt for all unused lights and switch them off. A/Cs are carefully selected as per the size of the room, and the thermostat is set between 24-26 – and on sleep mode,” says Arvind.
While house owners should make the optimum use of electricity, Ramesh Kumar, an industrialist based in Udyog Vihar, says that there is a need to manage the power supply to malls and factories efficiently. “One temporary measure could be to shut malls up to 5 pm. Let them open at 5 pm and work till 12 midnight. Offices can work from 9 am to 5 pm,” he says, while adding that the same can be done with factories.
Bhatia says that inefficient use of power can be stopped provided the citizens are ready to adopt a greener lifestyle. He also wants the RWAs to instal solar power systems on top of their buildings, instal windmills, and use magnetic generators for producing power.
“Alternative means of energy could greatly augment the shortage in supply. The Aravalli hills could also be used for setting up windmills,” says Bhatia.
Meanwhile, Rajesh Gupta, Superintending Engineer, DHBVN says that they are trying to resolve the situation at the earliest. The government is buying power even at Rs. 12 per unit to ensure that people do not suffer. It is likely that power being supplied to the industry will be diverted to the residential areas, to reduce suffering, says Gupta.
If the current situation does not improve soon, Siddarth Correya says that people will have to carry tents and sleeping bags to offices and malls, to maximise whatever air-conditioning they can get. To ensure that such a scenario does not arise, Abhishek Jain, initiator of BijliBachao.in, a portal aimed at saving power, offers some tips. This, he says, will help the demand and supply situation to come to an even keel, and ensure that the fuse does not explode during the summers in the Millennium City.
Tips to save electricity
τ Switch to T5 tube lights (for larger rooms), and CFLs (for smaller areas). These can save up to 50 to 70 per cent over regular tube lights and bulbs.
τ Old Air Conditioners (more than 5 years old), and Refrigerators consume a lot of electricity. 30 to 50 per cent cost can be saved by upgrading to 4 or 5 star rated air conditioners and refrigerators.
τ One can save up to Rs. 60 per month by switching from an un-starred ceiling fan to a 5 star rated ceiling fan.
τ Appliances (TV, Set Top boxes, cell phone chargers, mosquito repellents) consume electricity until they are switched off from the main plug point. Just switching off TV, AC or any other appliance from the remote does not ensure that it does not consume any more electricity.
τ Keeping Air Conditioners at 24-25 degree centigrade, and using energy saver mode, can reduce electricity bills – without compromise on comfort.
τ Maintaining the right insulation of the room: closing doors and windows, using sun protection sheets and curtains, can increase the air conditioner effectiveness, and reduce the electricity bills.
τ Switching from Desktops to Laptops, and making sure that they are off when not in use, can also save a significant amount of electricity.
τ Make sure that regular maintenance happens for all your appliances, so that they are in the right working condition, and consume less electricity.
In addition, Architect Abhimaniyu Bhatia suggests that Gurgaon residents should:
τ Insulate the walls and ceilings of the houses, using good quality insulation material. This can help in 20 to 30 per cent reduction in power used for air-conditioning.
τ Double glaze the windows to reduce the need of air-conditioning.
τ For plot owners, shady trees should be planted around the houses, and roofs and walls should be built using cavity bricks. That will ensure better thermal control. There are also special paints that help in reflecting heat and light, and the same could be used.
τ The homes and apartments should be weatherised, by plugging the airleaks around doors and windows. This will greatly improve the efficiency of air-conditioning, and require less power.
If all these measures are adopted at the same time, experts promise that Gurgaon will need a lot less power. And this will be good for the City and the State.
The residents are willing to be pro-active, to contribute. This people's power can of course, go both ways. It's time for the State to power back.
The present shortage of electricity in Haryana can be partially met by way of conservation of electricity, as there is a potential of saving over 25 per cent of the present availability of power generating capacity in the State. One watt saved at the point of consumption saves about 1.5 watts generated. It costs about Rs. Five crores to create 1MW of new generation capacity
An energy saving of 27-40 per cent is possible, in a typical commercial building, with an annual energy consumption of 200 KWh/sq. meter, if a building is constructed with energy efficient building designs/concepts. The Energy Conservation Building Code sets a minimum efficiency standard for commercial buildings, having a connected load of 500 KW or more.
There is energy wasted in: Agriculture, with inefficient water use; Old buildings, which guzzle power through inefficient lighting, cooling and pumping devices; Widely dispersed small and medium enterprises, many of which use energy inefficiently and contribute to distribution losses.