January 28, 2012, Jaipur
“A sustained growth of the Indian economy will be constrained by unavailability of energy, and therefore bringing in an era of energy efficiency makes great sense,” said Ajay Mathur, Director Genneral, Bureau of Energy Efficiency. He was speaking at a dissemination meeting on Assessing Consumer Awareness on Energy Efficient Products in India.
This study is conducted by CUTS International with support from the US-based ClimateWorks Foundation through Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, New Delhi. It is based on a survey of more than 20,000 households and 500 traders spread India. It also covered 50 producers.
Commenting on the findings of the report, Dr. Mathur said, it is unique in three aspects. It is the largest consumer survey undertaken on energy efficiency in India. Inter alia it highlights consumer awareness and trend in use of energy efficiency products. He also expressed the need for doing such studies at a regular interval, as the Indian market for energy-efficient products is very dynamic. He agreed with a major recommendation that for creating greater awareness among consumers, BEE should devise a joint plan of action with the Department of Consumer Affairs and consumer organisations. On the issue of subsidy to producers, he was of the view that bringing additional finances is important, and not subsidies.
In his opening remarks, Bipul Chatterjee, Deputy Executive Director of CUTS International talked about the need for greater consumer awareness on energy efficiency, major development in this field, major barriers, and possible way forward.
“Residential sector consumes about 21 per cent of India‘s energy and therefore, energy efficiency can lead to huge energy and finacial savings,“ said Seema Paul, Chief Executive Officer, SSEF. However, gap between consumer perceptions on energy efficiency and traders‘ awareness is a serious issue. This underlines the imperative of supporting awareness initiatives among consumers and educating traders on energy efficiency, she said.
The study is important from many angles, said Sunil Mitra, Independent Director, West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Corporation and former Revenue Secretary, Government of India. An important issue as identified by the project is there exists a huge gap between what has achieved so far and its potential. Another important finding is that about 23% of consumers of energy efficient products are lowly satisfied or indifferent. This needs to be urgently looked into and addressed, he said.