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Ms. Sheila Dixit we are reducing electricity consumption; you please do your bit to increase supply

India is currently facing huge electricity shortage with demand growth consistently outstripping the supply growth. The electricity demand supply gap in India has increased from 48,000 MU (Million Units) to 84,000 MU during last 8 years in spite of the electricity generation increasing by 50% during the period.  The supply growth has, however, been lower than the Government Targets (No surprises here 😦 ).


Our main sources of electricity generation are Coal based and Hydro-electric plants with both together accounting for over 80% of the electricity generation. With the inability of Coal India in increasing the coal output and dependence of coal plants on the sole supplier; the generation outlook for these plants remain uncertain and may not be amenable to significant growth. Hydro-electric plants on their own part face significant resistance from the local communities due to Government’s apathy for the displaced population. The generation capacity outlook from traditional sources, therefore, remains muted and we need to focus on renewable sources including solar and wind energy.

Where do we use electricity?

The electricity demand has grown across all the sectors including domestic, industrial and agricultural with the economy growing at a strong pace of around 8% per annum during last decade. The demand from domestic sector has increased at the fastest pace with the increased electrification across India and higher penetration of consumer durables including power guzzling air conditioners and refrigerators.

Where can we make a difference?

We need to reduce our electricity usage to deal with the power shortage in our country; however, we need to first know the current usage patterns to effectively target the key areas. We as individuals have little power to impact the demand patterns in industrial, agricultural and Transport sector as these are majorly impacted by the Government policies and economic conditions.

We, however, have the ability to reduce demand in both residential and commercial settings. In the residential setting, around 60% power is used in lighting and fans while 20% is used in refrigeration and Air Conditioning.

Commercial: The space conditioning accounts for 32% of the electricity usage while lighting for a whopping 60%. This is kind of counter intuitive as I always thought that it will be just the reverse.

How to save electricity?

Residential setting:

  • Lighting accounts for 28% usage: Here we have a huge scope for saving electricity through replacing bulbs and tube light with CFLs – this has a potential of reducing the usage by 75%.
  • Fans and lighting account for 60% usage – We should make it a point that we switch off lights and fans when not in use.
  • Electricity needs for space cooling could be reduced by using air coolers in non-humid conditions instead of air conditioners.
  • Air Conditioners should be set at a comfortable temperature of around 25 degrees to save electricity.
  • Electronics appliances should not be left in sleep mode as some of these consume significant power while on standby mode.

Commercial Setting:

  • With lighting accounting for majority of the electricity usage in commercial settings; I think, we can take cue from the European countries which work with the sun (work starts with sunrise and stops at sunset) and alter our work timings which is going to save us a lot of electricity especially in lighting.
  • Air conditioning temperature should not be set too low in summers and too high in winters.

 These are just a few preliminary ideas on how to save electricity. I am here inviting everyone to kindly contribute so that we come up with a high quality list of 10 Things to do to save Electricity.

Lets share to make our country better!!!!


About Deepak

An Engineer and MBA from IIT Roorkee and IIM Ahmedabad. Interested in doing something for the country in my own little way.


6 thoughts on “Ms. Sheila Dixit we are reducing electricity consumption; you please do your bit to increase supply

  1. I believe that India needs to start looking at Nuclear Energy/Solar Power as a source of power generation, reducing consumption is not the solution, as this might work for next 2-5 years but at the current rate of population growth we might potentially have twice the number of households as compared to now in 10 years time, thus we are sitting on an energy time bomb where either we prepare ourselves for massive deficits in 10 years time or we arm twist the government into investing in proper power infra. And no encouraging Hydropower is again not the answer as it leads into unnecessary interference with Nature’s and causes long term problems.

    Another factor that is not taken into account is transmission losses (which is just another term for power theft). The current rate of power theft is simply unacceptable and there is a need to start investing in infra which will ensure that power theft gets reduced in the longer term.

    As a growing economy there should be minimum tolerance to power shortages as there is a huge costs associated and it will only serve to discourage initiatives in manufacturing segment.

    Posted by Dipank | July 20, 2012, 8:31 AM
    • Dipank, I completely agree with you on the fact that we need to invest huge money in augmenting the power generation capacity as controlling consumption alone cannot be a solution. Currently also our per capita electricity consumption is one of the lowest in the world at 107 Watts per person as compared to world average of 306 watts per person. US has 1363 Watts per person, China 389, Russia 783 and Brazil 249 Watts per person. So obviously, per capita consumption is bound to go up as we go up the development path. What we obviously need to do is make the best use of supply which is available to us.

      With both Coal and Hydro difficult to scale up in our country, we need to increase generation through renewable sources including solar, wind and nuclear (although there are huge negatives of nuclear).

      Regarding, losses, our T&D losses are high at 32%; out of which 15-20% are technical losses and remaining 12-18% are losses due to theft and illegal uses. We surely need to take care of this as well; and it has been successfully done in Delhi after privatisation. NDPL has been able to reduce the T&D losses from 50% in 2002 to around 20% in 2010. So obviously, this saving is possible; provided appropriate incentives are provided to people across the value chain.

      Posted by Deepak | July 21, 2012, 1:12 PM
  2. One of the main reasons why Captive Power Plants have seen shelving spree in past 2-3 years is lack of a formidable finance policy. Many projects have been put on back burner because of very high interest rates. If government frames special policies for a special sector like Power, private investors will be more than glad to participate in nation building. At least they will be self sufficient and state electricity can be released for domestic consumption.

    Another aspect where state electricity boards are doing little is losses in transmission and distribution. Still a substantial portion of electricity is lost in various pilfers of distribution and losses during transmission. High voltage AC and DC transmission projects should be taken on top most priority. Alas, these development projects die down in state electricity and power ministry red tapism and whatever comes up, officials rake in big moolah.

    We have huge potential in Solar, geothermal and hydro power. Government should step up investments in these areas or at least make investing easier

    Posted by Jaideep Mann | July 21, 2012, 9:30 AM
    • Very well said Jaideep!!! State Electicity boards don’t have much interest in reducing T&D losses; they in fact, take commission from people involved in illegal activities. This situation can, however, be averted through providing appropriate incentive structure to people in the value chanin. Take Delhi’s example, here the T&D losses have declined from 50% in 2002 to 20% in 2010.

      We also need to focus more on the renewable sources of energy through providing appropriate incetives to these industries.

      Posted by Deepak | July 21, 2012, 1:18 PM
  3. We will try and will do our best to save electricity. If an individual start thinking at the same point of view we all together can make this country a better place to live.
    Keep it going Deepak. All the very best.

    Posted by Harneet Chopra | July 24, 2012, 9:56 AM

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