Tuesday, 24 January 2017

A brief understanding of your Electricity bills

There are times when you start wondering why your electricity bills are increasing every month. It is of crucial importance to know how to save your electricity bills with the constant rise in Grid Tariffs. These tariffs are fixed by the KERC (Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission), and the tariffs are different for every consumer category.

As more people realize the need for a clean reliable source of energy and plan for long term savings, their First step is to understand their electricity bills. To help you to get an insight into your electricity bill, a simple info graphic is presented below.

BESCOM bill for a Residential User:

1.     Revenue Register Number: The RR Number is a Unique ID which identifies the Meter installed by BESCOM.

2.   Tariff Category: BESCOM have categorized different establishments under different categories and have assigned different electricity rates to each. To understand the Tariff rates click here. For residential consumers, the category is LT (Low Tension) 2 a (i) and for commercial comsumers, the category is LT (Low Tension) 3 a (i).

3.   Sanctioned Load: The maximum amount of load  demand from your househould when all the appliances are connected. Applying for the correct santioned load for your house is of crucial importance as it helps to avoid paying penalty for heavy load demand.

4.   Cumulative Readings: In order  to calculate the consumption, BESCOM stores your previous bill readings in their devices and calculated the difference between the current reading and previous reading to check your total consumption for a month and generate the bill.

5.  Consumption: The actual consumption of your household is given in bold and large numbers. The units of electricity is measured in Kilo-Watt Hours which is a measurement of energy. On these units you are charged based on the tariffs and slabs decided by KERC (Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission).  For large segments, the number of units is multiplied by a Constant which varies based on different loads.

The second half of the bill shows the fixed tariff rates for Residential users:

6.   Fixed Charges: This residential segment has a sanctioned load of 3 KW. KERC have fixed a nominal charge per KW of sanctioned load for a residential segment, as seen in the Fixed Charges box.

7.     Slab Rates: Residential users are charged under Slab Rates. Tariff Slab Rates are decided by the KERC and they are charged depending on the units consumed. The consumer has to be aware of such slabs, as exceeding his/her monthly consumption over 200 units, he/she  will be charged at a higher tariff of Rs 6.90, which increases your bill by a considerable amount.

8.  Final Amount: After adding Taxes, penalties,etc. fixed by the State Government, the final amount payable is printed.

It is crucial for any residential or commercial owner to understand this block as this helps you understand that by turning off devices at home when not needed, your bill might not fall into the higher paying slabs and thus reducing your overall bill cost. BESCOM are providing rebates to users who have installed Solar Heaters in their houses, so consumers can reap the benefits up to Rs.50 savings in their monthly electricity bills.

Understanding the different parts of the electricity bill above, can help you understand your electricity bill and also plan on reducing the electricity consumption for your home. By keeping a track of your units being consumed and your sanctioned load, you can save on your monthly electricity bills.

Next week, we talk about how rooftop solar PV plant can reduce your electricity bills and how you can gain long term financial savings…

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Solar power potential in Peenya Industrial Area

By guest author - Girish Shivakumar

Peenya Industrial Area (PIA) is largest small scale industrial sectors within Bengaluru city. PIA is one of the largest Micro Small Medium Enterprise (MSME) cluster in the country. Industries ranging from rolling mills to electrical equipment manufacturing to tool and dye making are present in the area.

Cluster profile
There are around 750 HT 2A (industrial category) consumers under Peenya sub-division of BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company). The average contract demand for this sub-division under HT2A category works out to be around 350kVA per consumer. A closer look at the cluster indicates that the consumers with contract demand of <150kVA and between 200-300kVA are equally distributed and account for nearly 50% of the consumer set.

Solar rooftop potential
Under the current solar rooftop policy, consumers could install solar PV up to 150% of their contract demand. So, for a consumer in PIA with 300kVA contract demand, an installation of 450kWp is possible. However, PIA has a wide range of rooftop spaces including asbestos roofing. Most of the roof orientation is nearly south facing but a few roofs are also inclined on the East-West direction. This would technically restrict the installation capacity to 100% of their contract demand or less on an average. 

Consumers with large rooftop spaces

PIA average industrial rooftop space

Economic viability

Considering an electrical load profile of an average industrial client in PIA with a contract demand of less than 150kVA the viability of a 99kWp solar rooftop PV is evaluated. Under the existing policies, the base electrical tariff is at ₹ 6.25/kWh with the tariff for excess PV generation fed back to the grid paid at ₹ 6.14 /kWh and hence the capacity of 99kWp and not 100kWp. In the scenario evaluated which is an average case of industries in PIA there is no general potential for PV export.  

As the results from the analysis reveal, even with a 99kWp solar PV plant, the average industry reduces net electricity consumption from the grid by 68% on an annual basis. The solar energy estimate is a conservative one considering an E-W orientation. Financially, assuming the current tariffs and capital cost for a 99kWp PV plant, the payback is close to 6 years with the obvious advantage of having a PV plant performing up to 25 years and beyond. However, with 80% Accelerated Depreciation (AD) available for businesses the payback is 5 years or lesser.

Overall, there is a definite net benefit to industries in opting for solar rooftop PV considering increasing grid prices and decreasing solar costs.
  •           Reduction in net energy costs which are prone to annual hikes
  •           AD benefit is a good enabler for industries

Even as the solar industry moves towards the 500kWp-1MWp sector for rooftops in the country, an average 100kWp solar plant that suits most of the industries in a cluster like PIA will be significant. Assuming a mere 10% solar adoption with 100kWp system the potential translates to a market of around 25MW in the Peenya Industry alone. Going forward, if India has to make reasonable progress in achieving the 40GW target by 2022, industrial clusters like these are significant and techno-commercial viability under current scenario make them a low hanging fruit.