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Bachat Lamp Yojana, yet to get glowing

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ENERGY EFFICIENCY.

Anil Sasi

New Delhi, June 4 The Centre’s effort to increase the use of the energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) across the country has at best been a dim success. CFL manufacturers, a key to the success of the ambitious Bachat Lamp Yojana, have been, by all accounts, slow to warm up to a novel idea being tried out under the project.

As a result, the project missed its first launch date of August 15, 2007 and the Centre took a good year-and-a-half to finally get the scheme off the ground, this February. “The problem was clearly getting the manufacturers on board for the scheme, without which its success was not possible,” an official with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency said.

The Bachat Lamp Yojana promotes replacement of inefficient bulbs with CFLs by leveraging the sale of certified emission rights (CERs) under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol.

The scheme envisages a public-private partnership between the Union Government, private sector CFL suppliers and State-level electricity distribution companies (Discoms). The aim is to provide a country-wide framework to distribute CFLs at about Rs 15 a piece to households the majority of which use inefficient incandescent bulbs.CFLs, priced at over Rs 100 a piece, find few takers.

The Bachat Lamp Yojana focuses on this first cost barrier to reduce the cost of CFLs to that of incandescent bulbs. While CFL sales in India have grown from about 20 million in 2003 to around 200 million in 2008, the penetration of CFLs in the household sector remains low at about 5-10 per cent. This is largely due to the high price of the CFLs, which is 8-10 times the cost of incandescent bulbs. Two pilot schemes in Vishakhapatnam and Yamunagar are in progress, with Osram as the CFL manufacturing partner in both. The Government hopes to expand the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) distribution scheme to eventually cover the entire country.

STAR RATINGS

The Bureau of Energy Efficiency’s other key effort to bring in energy efficiency ratings for consumer durables seems to be picking up steam. More electronic goods are coming into the ambit of star ratings, with appliances and manufacturers beginning to tom-tom the ratings. After star-rated air-conditioners and refrigerators, the Bureau has now brought into its ambit appliances such as motors, pump-sets, ceiling fans, LPG gas stoves, electric geysers and colour television sets.

Products are rated on the basis of the energy they consume, while those using a higher quantum of energy are given fewer stars, products that are energy-efficient are given up to five stars. According to the BEE, The scheme’s success is evident from the fact that in 2007-08, only 10 per cent of the refrigerators sold were rated, while in the previous fiscal the figure rose to 50 per cent.

According to the BEE assessment, because of energy-efficient products and designs, 260 MW of power generation was saved in 2007-08 and this quantum is expected to touch 1,000 MW during the financial year 2008-09.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 5, 2009)
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