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Electricity has become a critical necessity in our lives. However, as the global discourse evolves on the usage of efficient and cleaner sources of generating this electricity, and the impact that power generation has on the environment at large, the onus is also shifting to improve the efficient usage of this resource.

Managing the supply and demand of electricity is a complex matter regardless of geographic location. In Pakistan, there is a heavy involvement by the government. All distribution companies (DISCOs) except K-Electric are state-owned entities (SOEs). The National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) acts as the watchdog over the whole system. Pakistan’s electricity mix is highly dependent on imported and conventional fossil fuels, which makes it sensitive to price changes, ultimately driving a higher cost of electricity for the end consumer.

In a post-pandemic world, as the usage of technology increased, the burden on electricity supply also rose by an order of magnitude. As we move forward, it is feared that electricity prices will be increased regularly on one pretext or the other. This situation demands the efficient use of electricity to manage the bills in a better manner.

Here are a few steps to consider, which can regulate the costs while giving you the same benefit.

Reduce energy use

Our cities and urban centers are rapidly evolving. The Karachi from the 1950s and 60s, with wide avenues and sprawling bungalows scattered across posh localities, is turning into a concrete jungle with multi-story, multipurpose buildings. Good design principles dictate that these structures be built in a manner to utilize natural daylight as much as possible. Double glazed windows can act as excellent insulators, reducing the burden on consumers who need to install large AC units and use them extensively to maintain ambient temperatures. Open windows will act as natural exhaust and these will help in keeping the temperature low. Even the electrical appliances inside homes can be replaced with higher efficiency units to bring down their bills and to increase their savings; people should use LED bulbs instead of conventional bulbs as LED on average can save up to 60% energy and lasts 10 times more than the conventional bulbs. Some utilities around the world offer services to help you calculate your savings and the amount of electricity you are drawing through your appliances; in Pakistan, KE is one company offering this service. Customers can use the facility of Energy Consumption calculator available on K-Electric’s website. This calculator helps to know the energy saved by using energy efficient appliances in (kWh).

Smart use of electricity

The meter installed in your home or office or factory is blind. It cannot see which room is empty or full, but it will definitely record how much electricity is being used if the appliances are on. Simple acts like leaving the lights off can create incremental savings in your bills. In Pakistan, consumers who are using more than 5 kW of electricity on a three-phase supply are also given an incentive in the form of peak and off-peak hours for electricity usage. These times are from 6:30pm to 10:30pm (April-October) and 6:00pm to 10:00pm (November-March). Using fewer appliances during peak hours – especially washing machines, irons, water motors, and ACs – during this time can contribute huge savings because the price of electricity during these peak hours is higher than lower.

The onus is on consumers that if they want to manage their electricity bill, they should educate themselves, use latest appliances or undertake regular maintenance of their existing ones, and act sensibly for their own benefit and also for the benefit of country.

Purchase low voltage appliances

It is easy to forget that the appliances in your homes are also machines which wear down with time, increasing their usage of electricity along with it. There is a growing trend and awareness among consumers about undertaking regular maintenance of their appliances to keep them ship-shape, so that they can continue using electricity in an efficient manner. Even manufacturers are now focusing on high-efficiency technology which can operate on lower voltages, and save electricity consumption. Today we have such refrigerators and freezers available whose consumption of electricity is even less than the consumption of two energy savers. Consumers should buy these low-voltage appliances to control their electricity consumption. Also, it is revealed that refrigerators that are more than 10 years old consume 25% more energy than the one available in the market currently. It is in the benefit of consumers that they replace their old refrigerators. Similarly, it is recommended that consumers should use inverter ACs as they save up to 50% load annually. Adjusting ACs thermostat in the range of 24 degree to 26 degree is also beneficial for the consumers.

Appliances efficiency.

If appliances operate at their full efficiency, they not only perform to their optimum level but also help in electricity conservation, which in turn leads to a reduction in bill. As air conditioners consume more electricity, it is crucial to ensure that they run at peak efficiency. To achieve this, user should regularly clean the air filters and also change them regularly preferably once in every three months. Refrigerator is another high energy consumption appliances. Dirty condenser coils makes refrigerator work harder to cool foods. To maintain efficiency, it is suggested to maintain the refrigerator and freezer once every three months.

Eco-friendly spaces

The advice doesn’t seem like it will impact electricity bills, but there is an advantage. Creating green spaces inside homes acts as a natural buffer against higher temperatures by providing partial insulation and also absorbing much of the sunlight which would otherwise be absorbed by walls and furniture, creating heat sinks inside your house.

People are advised to sow those plants which can fulfil their daily consumption of vegetables. Greenery on a consumer’s roof will help in reducing the intensity of sunlight which will reduce the use of ACs and ultimately result in reducing the electricity bill. If a family does not have roof, they can use plastic bottles to sow plants within their kitchen or the small balcony they have in their apartment.

(The writer is a freelance contributor. She is well versed with creative writing, copy writing and editing. She is a visiting faculty at Indus University, Karachi. She can be reached at [email protected])

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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