Energy fixing

Bureau of Energy Efficiency says it is likely to meet Plan target. Experts say claims far from truth

By Ruhi Kandhari
Last Updated: Sunday 07 June 2015

Energy fixing

imageEnergy efficiency is often called the low hanging fruit of climate change. Each unit of electricity saved is considered a unit less generated, which means less greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Under the 11th Five Year Plan, programmes promoting energy efficiency aim to save five per cent of energy consumption, or avoiding 10,000 MW addition in generation capacity.

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) in April claimed it is most likely to meet the Plan target since the avoided generation capacity recorded till December 2010 was 7,415 MW, equivalent to the generation capacity of two proposed ultra mega power plants in India (about 4,000 MW each). But experts say a closer look at the figure shows the actual saving is, in fact, much less.

According to Umashankar, energy researcher with Delhi nonprofit Centre for Science and Environment, who studied the energy saving reports released by BEE, more than two-thirds of the saving is due to the government scheme, Standards and Labeling (S&L). The scheme mandates star rating for some electrical appliances, the most efficient appliance gets five stars and the least efficient one star.

“The government assumes that without its labelling intervention the appliances would remain entirely inefficient in the market,” says Umashankar. The energy efficiency ratio of a one-star AC is 2.2. It was fixed in 2007 and was supposed to increase to 2.7 from 2010 onwards. But it has not yet been revised.

About half of the claimed 7,415 MW saving comes from air conditioners (ACs). But the Indian Association of Energy Management Professionals in Bengaluru believes the BEE claims are an “exaggerated estimation”. ACs sold today are compared to ACs that have zero-star, a market average before S&L started in 2007. “If BEE measures efficient appliances sold in a year against market study of average efficiency of the previous year, the real energy savings can be estimated,” says Sunil Sood, former president of the association. But BEE does not even make the market average consumption data available which is crucial to calculate the benchmark, he adds.

  Energy efficiency ratio of a one-star AC is 2.2. This was supposed to increase to 2.7 from 2010. But it has not yet been revised  
For example, Sood explains, in 2007-2008, the market average for refrigerators was three-star but the assumed baseline was one-star. The resultant avoided generation capacity would have been half of the claimed 245 MW. National Productivity Council, which audits BEE’s energy saving reports, recommended in the 2009- 10 report that to improve data accuracy the bureau should use specific studies on market research and transformation. Tanmay Tathagat, who led the development of S&L at BEE, says apart from the benchmark there are two crucial factors that decide how much generation capacity has been avoided.

First, the assumption of the number of hours for which the appliances are used. “Since the use of appliances is varied across the country, the number of hours is assumed,” he explains. The assumptions made by BEE, Tathagat says, appear to be too optimistic. For instance, it assumes that fans are used for 3,600 hours in a year. This is almost double of what Prayas energy group, a Pune based non-profit, assumed in its 2010 report—1,600 hours in a year.

Similarly, the energy contribution of ACs would reduce considerably on using Prayas’ assumption of 720 hours in a year against BEE’s assumption of 1,200 hours.

Ajay Mathur, director general of BEE, says the number of hours has been assumed using many “reports and surveys”. Tathagat says the assumption should be an educated guess because there is shortage of such data in the country, and a conservative estimate is mostly closer to reality. Secondly, Tathagat points out that faulty appliances can affect the energy savings substantially.

For example, in 2004-05 BEE conducted a random testing of ACs in the market. The written energy consumption in the brochure was lower by over 30 per cent than actual consumption by some appliances. “Such tests are supposed to be conducted every quarter by BEE but results are neither reported nor factored in the energy saving calculations,” says an energy consultant who does not want to be identified.

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    ANOTHER FARCE BY BEE :::::::::::

    ( 1 ) Is there any possibility of BEE posting the ESCO reports in their own web site since all Municipal contracts were awarded some one and half year back by BEE to short listed ESCO and we understand that majority of ESCO submitted reports saying the Energy Efficiency level in all municipal corporation is excellent and out performing .......

    ( 2 ) The above point also apply for free Energy Audit conducted to cash rich Designated Consumers .= Will BEE post the EA report in their web ?


    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Great job of exposing the

    Great job of exposing the farce.National Productivity Council has produced such false reports in exchange for unknown amount of fee received from BEE. So the fault lies more with BEE. Ajay Mathur was the beneficiary of the verified reports who used them for getting an award from Alliance to Save Energy.The Star Rating Programme itself is full of loopholes without any independent verification.
    Congratulations to you Madam and DTE.It would have been nice had you covered the matter more in detail.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • I must appreciate the kind of

    I must appreciate the kind of effort you have put to expose 'Energy Fixing'. They have been doing this type of 'Fixing' for the last 3 years. BEE/NPC combine has proved that it is possible to fool all the people for all the time.
    Apart from the points covered in Ms Juhi's report there are several other issues which BEE/NPC must answer:
    1. What was the role of the manufacturers in S&L programme
    2. What was the role of only representative of consumers organisation i.e.VOICE
    3. Why the Certified Energy Auditors were not involved in designing the S & L Scheme and verification of energy savings?
    4. Why BEE/NPC has not published the names and addresses of the stake holders who were consulted during the verification of the energy savings.
    5. How the savings claimed to have been achieved by the units which took part in National Energy Conservation Award scheme was claimed as BEE's achievement.The Award scheme is that of Ministry of Power and was operational much before BEE was born!
    6. How come the savings realized by the State Designated agencies were added as BEE's achievement?
    7. 36 W FTL and 50 W ceiling Fans were already there in the market even before the S&L.Then how BEE can think that people would have purchased only 40 W FTLs in the absence of S&L.Plus what about the Ballast losses? Where these were accounted? Anyway the Star Label for FTLs has no meaning as 1 star and 5 star FTLs will consume the same power.Only the Lumen will be more for 5 Star.
    8. Why the installation, climate zones, and use aspects were not considered for Labeling?
    9. Why BEE has not revealed exactly how much fee it got from the Labeling.This would have revealed the exact quantity of Star Rated appliances sold.

    There are so many other issues which need to be answered by BEE. If BEE people are doing it out of their ignorance, the they have no business to be there and if it is being done deliberately the this calls for an intervention from the appropriate authorities.
    Sunil Sood

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Why BEE preferred labeling of

    Why BEE preferred labeling of Frost Free refrigerators mandatory when it has been banned in USA? The Star Rating for refrigerators is thus misleading.If I buy 5 Star rated frost free fridge then I will be consuming more energy than 1 Star Direct Cool energy.
    Should not BEE had also Labelled technologies also.
    Further my 4 Star TV shows that it will consume 158 kWh per year.What does it mean? if I leave t on 24 Hours X365 days then what will be the consumption when its wattage is 80 Watts? Then on what basis they have arrived at the figure of 158 units? If I don't know to set the thermostat of the fridge or AC then will not these appliances consume more energy?

    BEE has really taken the consumers for a ride with its 'Bachat Ke Sitare'.The only beneficiaries being the advertising agencies and the manufacturers.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • I completely agree with Mr

    I completely agree with Mr Sood.If they do not know their job, they should be asked to resign before more harm is done.if they mislead the country for selfish gains then a criminal case should be booked against the guilty.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • I request DTE to please do an

    I request DTE to please do an an independent and unbiased study on the following schemes/ duties of BEE:
    1. Bachat Lamp Yojana
    2. Energy Conservation Building Codes
    3. Star Rating of Buildings.
    4. Certification Examination of Energy Auditors
    5. Emplacement of ESCOs
    6. Foreign Collaboration and the foreign Trips made by BEE Officials
    7. Media Campaigns launched by BEE and their effectiveness.
    8. Hiring of Consultants
    and so on....

    I can help with some solid information collected by me through RTI applications.
    Sunil Sood

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Mr Umashankar's comment that

    Mr Umashankar's comment that the Government( read BEE) assumes that without S& L programme, the appliances would have remained inefficient is very apt.This is what BEE wants us to believe.Did the manufacturer changed the whole assembly line overnight because of the Labeling? Whom do they want to fool?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Another point which DTE must

    Another point which DTE must investigate is the role of Energy Efficiency Services Ltd.(EESL) regarding Perform,Achieve and Trade (PAT) scheme under National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency.
    BEE has provided huge funds to EESL, which are being spent to favour few consultants.
    This is also a big scam.
    Let DTE find out how NMEEE has helped the country.
    PAT scheme is also brain child of Ajay Mathur.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Many thanks for your comments

    Many thanks for your comments which serious and knowledgeable people should now start the fight for.
    This halo creation by BEE cannot be tolerated longer.

    Meanwhile, DTE has already criticised BEE on the PAT scheme in the earlier issues. Please find the articles here and here

    Are the mainstream industries and media listening or will they continue to turn a blind eye?

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • The Labelling scheme has

    The Labelling scheme has caught the attention and awareness of the common man in India. Consumers are asking for "Five star Fridge and A/cs" and the The consumer durable shops are defenitely giving weightage to Five star models. Should we not give credit to BEE ?

    Agreed there might be anomalies in the numbers and the avoided generation. Agreed that manufacturers also might have changed the assembly line and introduced energy efficient products even in the absense of star rating. However Market pull for these products would not have been so high without the star rating. The % share of efficient products (say 4 or 5 star appliances) would have remained very miniscule with all consumers looking just at initial capital prize and not the running cost.

    Independent verification - Yes. More trasparency in BEE website etc - Yes, Public Posting of energy audit reports - Yes, Over all a higher accountability - Yes - But let the article and comments not give an impression that nothing has been achived.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Thank you for your comments.

    Thank you for your comments. We have interviewed Mr Ajay Mathur and asked him some of the questions raised in this forum. The interview would be published in the June 15th issue of Down to Earth. 

    Krish, the story only points at the anomalies in the numbers. I agree with you that awareness has been created but not to the extent that has been claimed by BEE.

    Posted by: Ruhi Kandhari | 4 years ago | Reply
  • Thanks Ruhi for the excellent

    Thanks Ruhi for the excellent debate.Waiting for Dr Mathur's reply.
    I hope by now he would have become wise and not try to take credit for other's achievements or quote some false figures. People are watching him and if he continues like this then one day he will be answerable to all the misdeeds in BEE. In his time BEE web site has been revised 4 times.Even at the time of writing this BEE web site is under maintenance since last many days.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • The projection of savings in

    The projection of savings in energy or GHG or any other environmental parameter, where there are a number of variables, is always based on certain assumptions.

    Where the assumptions pertain to user behavior (e.g. hours of use of AC, purchasing priorities, buying a direct cool vs frost free based on energy use, etc) or alternate market scenarios (e.g. what would have been the market like without the program, would the appliance energy efficiency improved on its own, and by how much, etc) it is especially tough to come up with universally acceptable numbers. There will always be biases based on personal experience, perceptions and affiliations.
    This article only points out that there is a need for a comprehensive, better documented, debated and survey of such factors in order to fine tune the projections.
    In absence of such detailed nationwide surveys (and such surveys are in the making right now) and benchmarks such projections should be acceptable.
    BEE has already provided the assumptions and methodology for the savings projections, so unless there are better sources of data or estimates, it is tough to make an argument that there is a deliberate attempt to obfuscate or inflate the numbers. In most countries this kind of data collection has taken years.

    The comments on this forum does show that there are a number of individuals who care about this issue and have additional information that may help.. It will be more productive to point in the right direction than pointing out all the directions that are not right.

    DTE, if it so desires, can be the voice of the consumers and take a the first step in making a positive contribution.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Ms. Ruhi, Mr. Sood and

    Dear Ms. Ruhi, Mr. Sood and every one,

    I would like to first congratulate Ms. Ruhi for writing such a transparent article and I agree with the issues/concerns raised by you.

    I had been working in implementation of energy efficiency project in Industries. With my experience, to which everyone would agree that baseline definition is very important when we are calculating savings. This becomes even more important when setting up baseline for equipments whose performance depends on ambient conditions.

    Another fact that I would like to highlight about is Bachat Lamp Yojna and/or use of CFL. Energy savings of CFL is highlighted to such an extent that people are started replacing FTL with CFL. It is true that CFL is energy efficient but compared to what? I would say that every statement is a comparative statement. CFL's give savings when compared with incandescent lamps. But do they really give savings for a FTL? I would say that cost wise, one T5, (28 W FTL) would be at par or less for equivalent number of CFL for same lumens output. I have seen number of people is replacing FTL with 3-4 CFL thinking it will give them energy savings. I would say that BEE should give clear comparison against what savings can be achieved.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • I am shocked that the

    I am shocked that the difference between energy efficiency claimed by an AC manufacturer can be just two-thirds of the claim!!!! Why should a consumer spend money on a 5 star AC when it actually delivers
    efficiency of a 2 or 3 star. As a consumer I feel government agencies to ensure the appliances sold in market are as energy efficient as they claim. Also such test results should be made available to the public.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Thanks for your comment,

    Thanks for your comment, Mohammed. I have rasied some of these concerns while interviewing Mr Ajay Mathur. 

    Here is the excerpts fromt the interview.


    Posted by: Ruhi Kandhari | 4 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Mr Mohammed, You are

    Dear Mr Mohammed,
    You are very right.Due to the wrong publicity campaign almost every where in the country you can find 80 W CFLs being used in shops.Even street lights they have started using CFLs in the name of energy efficiency.
    Even the start rated A/Cs they now use freely thinking it will save energy!
    The basic mistake is- we have simply followed models of other countries without developing the cadre of trained manpower to provide proper information and implementation services with verifiable results.IAEMP ( had given a proposal to BEE in the year 2009 to create a such a cadre but it was rejected for wrong reasons.

    (Sunil Sood)

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • Don't Panic!!! What Ruhi

    Don't Panic!!!
    What Ruhi cleverly omits to highlight, is that the difference between the efficiency claimed and tested is from a period before the labeling program was in place. BEE conducts an independent verification of the labeling criteria and the results of this check testing are on the BEE website. According to the data from check testing, the tested and claimed efficiency levels match.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  •  Dear Tanmay As far as I

     Dear Tanmay

    As far as I could find, none of the RITES check testing results have been uploaded on BEE's website. Please send me the link where the check testing results are available. Moreover, Mr Ajay Mathur himself said that the recent check testing has shown similar results as the one conducted before S&L started. 

    Posted by: Ruhi Kandhari | 4 years ago | Reply
  • Dear Mr Tanmay, To my

    Dear Mr Tanmay,
    To my knowledge, you are an Architect.Can you be frank enough to tell us how you got involved in S & L programme as convener?

    Next,you were also in the forefront for finalization of ECBC. You are well aware that it is a defective and incomplete document.To add insult to the injury,2007 version had several proof reading mistakes, missing Annexures,etc.BEE then silently brought our 2008 edition correcting these mistakes without bothering to do real work of preparing a complete document which could be adopted by all States as per their own climate region.

    I think BIS was in much better position to take up S & L programme and also ECBC.In fact, ECBC itself says that National Building Code,2005 prevails over NBC.
    What are your comments?
    BEE took up some works for which it neither had the necessary expertise nor the sincerity to do justice to the job.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 9 years ago | Reply
  • I agree with your concept

    I agree with your concept sir, but does it mean what ever energy savings report they have been released r false information ?
    I am an M.Tech energy engineering student, doing project on energy savings calculation from EC policy in S & L field, can you please help me out BY PROVIDING SUFFICIENT DATA for the same.

    Posted by: Anonymous | 8 years ago | Reply
  • Dear all It is a fact the

    Dear all

    It is a fact the ECBC does not address the key weather effects of every state.For example coastal climates more dehumidifcation compared to dry areas of interior.

    AC are normally ratedindoor air inlet temperature at 27 degree C(dry bulb) and 19degree C wet bulb temperature and outside ambient condition of 35 degree C (DB).Although the advertisements claim it can work upto 46 degree C ambient and above.

    Fact is the units rated at 35 degree C ambient gets derated for higher ambient.Thus the window airconditioners chasis for 1 to 1.5 TR are same for most of the manufacturer.

    In fact many of the earlier versions i.e before 1980 there were units which had worked for easily more than ten years. In the process of value engineering many aspects are sacrificed.

    Advertisements are misleading the vulnerable public including educated, No manufacturer has the manpower of their own or the delaers who are trained to handle the product. If energy efficiency has to improve assuming the products are engineered well then it has to be installed properly.

    Unlike automobile industry Airconditioning industry does not have adequate technically qualified leadership to sustain the product. So most of the companies are driven by so called MBA's without any logic and only insisting on numbers and inorder to cut cost they transfer all liabilities to sales and service dealers, who again can do justification as long as it profitable or atleast meeting their basic need other wise inorder to increase number of dealers they break the same dealer by luring a smart mechanic to start dealership either by competition or their own.
    In the process the customers are getting raw deal and gets lured by lowest without giving any thought for the Life cycle costs.


    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply
  • Dear All Most of the BEE staf

    Dear All

    Most of the BEE staf are economist and does not have the testing methodology or procedure to be followed.The ratings are based on 27 C inlet air to the indoor and inlet to outdoor as 35 C both dry bulb.
    But almost all manufacturers are claiming it is suitable to operate at 40 to 45 C ambint outdoor air.That means the star rated energy consumption vis -a-vis the actual will vary according to local conditions.The fact is the air conditioner will consume more energy for all the manufacturers more than rated by BEE.
    Only difference is earlier many small timers were making a living by assembling air conditioners and gave after sales service which was in those days for even many corporates go for it.
    After the reform and reduction of excise duty drastically every manufacturer came to India and many of them have already closed their factory or taken over by others.It goes to prove there is no value for quality and after sales service but shifted to power consumption or basic cost.
    In order to reduce cost every manufacturer set up a separate entity under their own factory where mostly it is assembled by importing in large numbers with value addition of only branding.
    Energy improvement in Window AC is not feasible unless the basic structure is altered so they focussed on splits but unfortunately the split AC require site work for which service provider needs skilled manpower which is virtually not available as whoever trained by good sales &service delaers are getting absorbed by company itself or by competition or they are recruitedfor middle east.

    After sales service are again taken directly by company and service offered through the dealers which makes the dealer suffer as the customers make a complaint after sales service is poor or company executive itself in league with dealers divert major chunk to the service contracts to particular dealer who does not have capacity to handle and he subcontracts and no service report is made and many times the working machine is also tampered by the service technician.


    Posted by: Anonymous | 7 years ago | Reply