Towards Efficient Power Management

The latest management practice adopted worldwide to address power deficit/energy crisis is the Demand Side Management (DSM).
Towards Efficient Power Management

J&K is a power deficit state. Against peak demand power of 2650 MW, the availability is 2043 MW only leaving a deficit of 22.91%. Energy-wise, against demand of 18000 MU, the availability is 13701 MU only, leaving a deficit of 23.88%. The state is therefore one of the highest power deficit states of country. The deficit is being managed by planned and distress load shedding, huge capital investment on capacity building at all voltage levels and by purchasing more power from outside the state on high cost.

The above options although being exercised from time to time prove uneconomical, annoying and ultimately detrimental to all the stakeholders including end users.  

The latest management practice adopted worldwide to address power deficit/energy crisis is the Demand Side Management (DSM). DSM is a combination of using high efficiency electrical equipment and efficient use of electricity through good operating practices. DSM actions are cost efficient and bring substantial financial saving.

To implement the most efficient and cost effective DSM actions, it is important to identify the largest energy consuming gadgets that substantially contribute to the system peak demand.

The per capita domestic consumption in J&K is one of the highest in the country due to extreme climatic conditions. During winter people use crude water heaters locally called "boilers" and conventional heaters using bare nichrome coils. These local innovations are energy inefficient and safety hazardous.

The reason why people use crude boilers is that they find electricity as the most convenient and cheap means for water heating during harsh winters in the State. The crude water heaters are formed by winding a nichrome coil around a cylindrical wooden block. The heater is immersed in water without any insulation between the coil and water. Further no thermal CUT-OFF is used to switch off the heater when the water attains its desired temperature. The water tanks in which these crude water boilers are used are either metallic or plastic.The metallic tap fitted in the tank is generally earthed. While in operation, two current paths are formed, one through the heater and other from heater to earth which causes huge loss of electricity. It has been observed that majority of consumers under flat rate regime or in non-compliant metering areas keep crude water boilers "ON" round the clock and some switch it "ON" at bed time and leave it "ON" till morning. It takes water hardly two to three hours to reach the desired temperature. Thereafter water keeps on boiling resulting into avoidable heat loss. 

Crude water boilers are also a safety hazard for life and property as electricity comes in direct contact with water. These do not conform to any National or International Standard. The safety hazard of crude boilers can be gauged from the news item in print and electronic media that in the month of January 2016, three minor girls of a family got electrocuted from an electric boiler dipped in a metallic container at Budhal in Rajouri district. Many such accidents occur in the rural areas and remain unheard. Replacing these boilers by standard geysers or immersion rods with inbuilt thermal CUT-OFF can not only be  a major DSM measure in the State for loss reduction but a leap towards ensuring safety of citizens. 

Replacing crude water boilers with geysers could have been an ideal DSM measure as geysers not only have inbuilt thermal cut off but these are also thermally insulated to avoid heat loss. The electrical heating coil in geysers is also electrically insulated from water and from the tank. Consumers who cannot afford geyser should be encouraged to use immersion rods with inbuilt thermostat. These immersion rods are available in the market at affordable price. 

If only 40% consumers using crude water boilers replace them with geysers and immersion rods, the saving per consumer per annum can be around 1825 units of electricity [@10 units per day for 5 hours cut off period during 6 months only] and the saving from 5.56 lac consumers out of total 13.90 lac domestic consumers can be around 1015.32 MU.

Another major energy consuming gadget in the state is the cooking heater. Again people use energy inefficient cooking heaters in areas under flat rate regime and in noncompliant metering areas. 

In conventional electric cooking heater, electrical energy is converted into heat energy in the bare nichrome coil of the heater and is then transmitted to the pan. A lot of heat is wasted to environment in this process. It has been found that efficiency of a standard conventional electric cooking heater is around 70% only. The conventional cooking heaters being used in the state are substandard and do not conform to any National or International standard. Further like crude water boilers, conventional cooking heaters are a safety hazard as often boiling liquid spills over on to the bare nichrome coil creating a conducting path from the coil to the utensil and to the human body which happens to touch the utensil at that point of time. 

The people should be encouraged to use induction cook tops. The induction cooking heaters work on the principal of electrical induction. The induction coil and the cook-top do not get heated up in the process but they create a magnetic environment when the pan is placed. It is the cooking pan only which gets heated up and there is no heat loss from the induction coil to the environment. Induction cook-tops are safe and can be safely touched while in operation. The efficiency of induction cook-tops is around 84%. 

If 40% consumers replace conventional cooking heaters with induction cook-tops, per consumer saving can be around 1.4 units per day for 5 hour operation and the saving per annum per consumer can be around 511 units which amount to 284.29 MU for 40% domestic consumers. 

Above DSM measures on account of replacing of crude water heaters with geysers and immersion rods and the conventional cooking heaters with induction Cook-tops can save around 1299.61 MU of electrical energy which is nearly 10% of the total consumption of State.

Time has now come to ban the safety hazardous bare nichrome coils which are used for making crude water boilers and conventional electrical heaters as standard water heaters like geysers and immersion rods with built in thermostats and induction cook-tops are easily available in the market at affordable price. 

The State Government is empowered under Section 12 sub-section (d) & (e) of J&K Energy Conservation Act, 2011 to prescribe the specifications of equipments or appliances or class of equipments or appliances, as the case maybe, for the purpose of the Act and to prohibit manufacture or sale or purchase or import of equipment or appliance specified under clause (d) unless such equipment or appliances conforms to energy consumption standards.

The government has already banned use of incandescent lamps in all non-domestic categories to encourage use of energy efficient CFL and LED lights. Government has also decided to distribute 80 lac LEDs to domestic consumers at affordable price and replace all incandescent lights in government installations. These are welcome steps. If crude water heaters are also replaced with geysers and immersion rods and conventional cooking heaters with induction cook-tops, the gap between demand and availability will narrow down which will be a major steps towards 24X7 availability of power supply. Further it will also reduce AT&C losses by around 10% which are presently above 60% and one of the highest globally. Power Development Department presently purchases power for more than Rs. 4000 crores annually against which realization is around Rs 1700 crores only. In case other expenses on power transmission and distribution are also added, the total expenditure is of the order of Rs. 6000 crores. The revenue gap therefore works out to be more than Rs. 4000 crores per anum. As citizens of the state, we have a responsibility to think about this colossal loss and use electricity judiciously by use of energy efficient gadgets. Power Development Department has taken number of steps towards energy conservation. The efforts of the department will bear fruit only with the cooperation of esteemed consumers that our efforts will bear fruit. 

(The writer is working as an engineer with J&K State Power Development Corporation)

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