New default AC temperature may make Odisha save 10,452 MW power/yr!

Odisha has emerged at the top in AC penetration among urban households in the entire eastern region and in its immediate neighbourhood. A total of 1.0772 lakh urban households in Odisha currently own ACs

Bhubaneswar:  With the clocking in of new year 2020, all room Air Conditioners (ACs) covered under the ambit of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) star-labelling programme will be mandatorily having a 24 degree C default temperature. The Union Power Ministry has already issued a notification in this regard.

The moot point then is does this mandatory norm going to make the AC users perspire highly this summer? The notification issued from Centre calls it game-changer in the arena of power saving in country, including Odisha.  Is it really so? What’s the AC power-play in Odisha?

Significantly, Odisha has emerged at the top in AC penetration among urban households in the entire eastern region.

A noteworthy mention here is IMD categorised Odisha in the core heat wave region in the country. Heat wave spells becoming more pronounced in Odisha over the years. Only recently, IMD had said 2019 had been the third warmest year on trot.

As per a 2018-19 study published by  a SEBI registered research agency, Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd, which is based on SECC 2011 census, AC penetration in urban households in the State stood at 8.5 per cent. A total of 1.0772 lakh urban households in Odisha currently own ACs. The study predicted the potential households at around 4.7 lakh more.

In contrast, the AC penetration in urban Bihar stood at 4 per cent, 8.3 per cent in Jharkhand, 7.4 per cent in West Bengal. The AC penetration in Odisha seems to be higher among the immediate neighbourhood also. Only 6.8 per cent urban households in Andhra Pradesh have ACs, the proportion in urban Chhattisgarh stood at 4.9 per cent only.

What is default set up? Has this taken away the right of an individual user’s right of choice in setting temperature?

No need to switch on a panic protest.  The 24 deg C default temperature means when a new AC is bought and switched on for the first time, then the default temperature will be 24 degrees. However, the end-user can tinker with the AC temperature very much after switch on. Earlier, the default AC temperature in the country has been 18-20 deg C.

Will this new norm make AC users perspire more this summer in Odisha? BEE debunks the notion. It says 24 deg C is the ideal comfort temperature for human body. Even, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study had also concurred with the BEE claims.

The trend has started world over much earlier. Japan has set the AC default temperature at 28 deg C since 2011. US has also implemented a similar campaign in its many provinces. Even, UN has implemented this policy in its headquarters.

How cool for Odisha? As 1.5 ton ACs are mostly used by consumers in Odisha, the annual power consumption, assuming 80 per cent compressor run time, operational for 10 hours/day and 8 months in a year, the power consumption by ACs in State is estimated to the tune of 17.4 lakh MW per year at the current default temperature of 20 degree Celsius, shows a preliminary calculation.

As per the Bureau Energy Efficiency (BEE), setting the default temperature of ACs at 24 deg C will then entail electricity saving by 24 per cent, which means State will save a massive 10, 452 MW of power per year.

Not only power saver mode, consumers are also going to gain big. See the preliminary calculation below:

A 3-star 1.5 ton split AC’s annual consumption per hour stood at 1,615 Kilowatt. And if the AC compressor operates for 4hours, then the appliance would consume 6 units power every day, whereas the annual bill comes at around Rs 6,201. User will see a saving of Rs 1,488/year under the  new deal, claims a BEE study.