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Inverters are backup choice for the middle-class families

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A POWERFUL ALTERNATIVE: More households in Chennai are opting for inverters to tide over power cuts. Photo : N.Sridharan
A POWERFUL ALTERNATIVE: More households in Chennai are opting for inverters to tide over power cuts. Photo : N.Sridharan

J. Malarvizhi

Fully automatic, noise-free, user-friendly and cheaper than generators

CHENNAI: Noisy generators are now making way for inverters, an automatic power backup system for select appliances, in the city's homes.

Fully automatic, noise-free, environment and user friendly, inverters can provide backup in case of a power failure for a combination of appliances such as fans and lights for a limited time.

Generators remain the backup solutions of choice in the industrial and commercial sectors, with their capacity to support more appliances over a longer period, they say.

Chennai is the leading market for inverters in the state with a large numbers of families living in apartments, says S. Selvakumar of Maruthi Power Control Systems. In the domestic segment, except a very small section of the elite that requires power backup for multiple air conditioners and has domestic help to switch on generators, most families are opting for inverters that can keep, say, three fans and four tube lights running.

The technology of the inverter is like that of a large emergency lamp with a bigger battery, explains P. Varathan of Novo Power systems. It's not always charging, though, and the cost benefits as compared to the other power backup solutions are higher, he feels.

"This is not rocket technology. It is freely available, though quality remains a concern," says Mr. Selvakumar, "Many people remain prejudiced against inverters because as much as 80 per cent of the inverter manufacture and distribution system is unorganised." Since small producers are less likely to be concerned about the longevity of their products, battery life is not always as good as it can be.

Choolaimedu resident Senthilnathan is all praise for the new inverter at his small office. Since his requirements are limited and power cuts infrequent in the locality, rarely lasting longer than 30 minutes, inverters are ideal for him, he says.

With the additional load of cooling appliances in summer, power outages become more frequent and the demand for power backup appliances rises. "We have to install as many as four systems a day in peak season. Many people are even asking us to take their generators on buy-back basis," says Mr. Varathan.

Assembled inverters tend to cost between Rs. 7000 and 8000, while the ones with branded batteries start above Rs. 10,000, says Mr. Selvakumar. Sine-wave inverters that can support air conditioners and other motor-run appliances form the high-end of the segment, costing up to a lakh.

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