It's time the Government encouraged the introduction of more energy-efficient products in the market

The need for efficient use of energy assumes tremendous significance today as the demand for energy increases. But, addressing the demand by merely increasing generation would mean increase in emission of green house gases, thus augmenting global warming.

It is therefore imperative to use energy-efficient alternative wherever possible and consume electricity in a sustained manner. This would facilitate uninterrupted and qualitative power supply for us and the coming generation.

A few simple deeds in our day-to-day life can contribute a lot towards energy conservation. For instance, promptly switching off lights and fans when the occupants leave the room, using star-rated appliances certified by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), using air-conditioners only when absolutely necessary, remembering to keep doors to air-conditioned rooms closed, cleaning the filter frequently, using compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) that consume less electricity than the ordinary bulbs, ensuring adequate air circulation inside and outside the refrigerator, reducing the amount of time the refrigerator door remains open, allowing hot foods to cool before putting them inside the refrigerator, ensuring that the refrigerator's rubber door seals are clean and tight… will help consume less energy.

The primary objective of BEE is to reduce the energy intensity of the Indian economy. Today, only limited electrical appliances are certified by BEE and available in the market. Of these, only four items are required to ensure quality compliance and carry the BEE label while the rest come under the tag “voluntary label”. Besides this, there are many number of products in the market that do not meet any standards. These not only consume more power but also pose a threat to consumers' safety. Therefore, it is important that all electrical appliances are subject to quality tests and certified by BEE before being brought to the market. Until then, the manufacturers should not be given the option of voluntary labelling, as this results in increase in the prices of energy-efficient appliances.

Moreover, as numerous products are sold at even half the price of standardised devices, it is essential for the government to incentivise energy-efficient, BEE-labelled appliances sold in the market, to encourage the public. Creating awareness through media is also the need of the hour.

We have submitted our recommendations to the BEE in this regard, and are confident that action would be initiated at the earliest.

Meanwhile, it is vital for us to realise that energy saving is a national cause and put in efforts to make our country energy-efficient.

(The writer works with CAG, which offers free advice on consumer complaints to its members. For membership details / queries contact 2491 4358 / 2446 0387 or helpdesk@cag.org.in)