Mumbai: ACs eat up 40% of city’s total power consumption

MUMBAI: The air-conditioners that keep you cool at office and home are scorching the meters. The city’s recent power load flow pattern, which gives an indication of which gadgets consume more power, indicates that air-conditioners alone guzzle nearly 1,000 MW of the 2,700 MW of power that the city consumes every day.

The finding has rattled Mumbai’s power administrators. “We are stunned. We have always known that ACs are power guzzlers but this gives us an accurate idea of the amount of power they actually consume,” MERC chairman V P Raja said.

And this isn’t only about the individual consumer paying his individual bill—eventually, every Mumbaikar has to shoulder the burden. Reason: the massive consumption increases the peak-hour daytime load significantly which forces the government to buy power at exorbitant prices from outside, leading to a steep rise in power bills.

However, MERC has a solution: it has suggested that big power consumers (like offices) use on water-based coolants, where water is chilled during the night and then used to bring down temperatures during the day with the help of an efficient circulation system.

“An in-built system of water-based coolants can bring down power bills by 40 per cent,” MERC consultant Mahesh Patankar said.

More than 6 lakh out of Mumbai’s 37 lakh residential and commercial consumers have air-conditioners at home; over 1,200 larger establishments use centralised air-conditioners. The first sub-group consumes around 400 MW of power daily and the larger commercial establishments account for 600 MW of power. The city has to buy 400 to 500 MW of power from outside during the day at an average cost of Rs 12 per unit.

The new office cooling system has already been implemented by establishments like the National Stock Exchange in the Bandra-Kurla Complex and Diamond Factory in Goregaon. MERC has also advised utilities like BEST, TPC and R-Infra to work with their consumers to reduce peak-time electricity use, and promote star-labelled products (which consume less power), especially ceiling fans, air-conditioners and refrigerators.

MERC also wants utilities to create power-consumption audit cells to provide “diagnostic support” to new residential and commercial buildings so that they know how to reduce consumption.

From TOI

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