Minsarathai Semippom: Small steps for big change

Minsarathai Semippom, an initiative aimed at spreading consumer awareness on consumption of electricity, is helping citizens cut down on energy costs through reduction and optimisation in consumption.

Do you know how much electricity common household appliances consume when you use it?

What is the reason behind your skyrocketing electricity bills in the summer?

How can you use the appliances in your house in an optimum way that in turn can bring your bills down?

Minsarathai Semippom, an initiative focused on energy efficiency and conservation at a household level, can now help you figure out the answers to these questions. The programme is being run the Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG), in partnership with Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE) and supported by Societe Generale Global Solution Centre (SG GSC) under its Corporate Citizenship Programme 

As part of the initiative (launched in December 2017), a workshop at the household level was organised on May 15th, which provided a platform to share learnings on energy saving and engage the audience in a discussion to gather feedback. The larger context for the workshop was the discussion of managing demand and peak load through efforts such as Minsarathai Semippom.

Some initiatives undertaken as part of the Minsarathai Semippom program are as follows:

  1. Creating awareness among the public on the source of household energy consumption through self learning modules
  2. R & D on production of innovative and smart home appliances to reduce the use of energy
  3. Proposal for defaulting settings of the the few appliances like air conditioner to be at 26 degree Celsius.
  4. Collaboration with other non-profit organisations to undertake an urban reduction project.
  5. Conducting specially tailored programs for school students on energy consumption methods and proper usage of the electricity

Workshop agenda

The multi-stakeholder workshop included participants from non-profit organisations and officials from the energy department, TANGEDCO. The workshop also included presentations on energy research undertaken by CAG and World Resources Initiative (WRI). The focus of the workshop was on problems faced by common man in case of energy saving.

“The initial step towards change in society is changing the mindset of the people. To that end, we are conducting various awareness campaigns at schools. Interestingly, we get positive responses from them,” said Balaji, a member of CAG and the event organiser.

There was a Q & A session following the workshop. The panel members  who fielded questions were Purushothaman, a TANGEDCO official and Nagesh Kumar, Director of the Centre for Energy, Environment and Productivity.

Important takeaways

There were various questions posed to the panel, bringing out facts that every common man should be aware of — mostly in the context of energy conservation and avoiding excessive tariff.

On the subject of reduction of electricity bill through peak hour usage of appliances, Kumar replied that using appliances only when necessary and switching them off when they’re not being used is the key.

“There is a long term need for change in consumer behaviour, that is we must first create a sense of awareness in them regarding the appliances they use at home,” said Sumaitha, a member of World Resource Institute(WRI). She further added “The various appliances used at various times of the day could lead to higher consumption of energy, without their knowledge. Also, we are coming up with different initiatives for people living in different localities to deal with this issue.”

Regarding the increased rate of power outages, Purushothaman said that the higher the peak demand in an area, the higher the chance of power outages. This can occur if the demand for electricity has outgrown the network originally built for the area and it can no longer keep up at peak times.

This programme is an extension of the very successful Vidyut Rakshaka programme being held at Bengaluru by TIDE, in partnership with SG GSC and WRI India. “Though Bangalore and Chennai are two entirely different types of cities, we are working out ways to save the consumption of energy resources in every possible way and to bring up new initiatives,” said Sumathi Krishnan, Executive Director, Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE).

“There are also various other initiatives being discussed with the government by our organisation to help commoners save energy at a household level even more efficiently,” said Bharath, a researcher at CAG.

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