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Boom in the AC market

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Meera Srinivasan

What was once a luxury has now turned a necessity

CHENNAI: Air conditioner, once a luxury, now seems to have turned into a necessity in most homes. With mercury levels soaring by the day, battling summer without an air conditioner has become unthinkable for many households.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, recently made star ratings for air conditioners mandatory. Consequently, leading brands now offer high-end and low-end models with star ratings ranging from five to one. An AC model (1.5 tonne) with a five star rating is likely to consume about 1.7 Kilowatts Per Hour (KWH). "About 10 years ago, an AC with the same capacity would consume about 2.5 KWH," says Rathna Fan House director K. Vijay.

Offering tips to prospective buyers, he said the size of the room had to be considered first. Mr. Vijay also said that setting the temperature at 22 degrees Celsius would ensure energy efficiency. "Though it may take a while to cool, it guarantees efficient use of power."

Top brands had features such as automatic on and off timers and timers that would increase the temperature by a degree every subsequent hour. A five star-rated AC costs about Rs.30,000 while models with a single star rating cost around Rs.22,000, he adds.

Higher target

Rathna Fan House, which sold 3,000 ACs five years ago, sold 26,000 ACs last year. "We are targeting 40,000 this year," Mr. Vijay adds, pointing to the boom in the market. A top brand sold 6.5 lakh ACs last year and was targeting sale of 10 lakh ACs in the country this year, he said.

For more information on conservation of electricity in homes, visit: http://www.tneb.in/

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