Panel Wants Dedicated Agencies in States to Enforce Efficient Energy Use
Only Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have set up standalone SDAs
December 27, 2022
A parliamentary committee has asked the Ministry of Power (MoP) to ensure that all states set up standalone State Designated Agencies (SDA) to facilitate and enforce the efficient use of energy as mandated by the Energy Conservation Act.
In a recent report, the Standing Committee on Energy said only two states – Kerala and Andhra Pradesh – had standalone SDAs. The rest of the states had vested the responsibility in other agencies like the departments of power, distribution companies (DISCOMs), and renewable energy development agencies.
The parliamentary committee felt that these agencies generally lacked dedicated physical and fiscal resources to oversee energy conservation activities.
“This dampens the pace and direction of energy conservation in the states,” it said, pointing out that the role of the states in meeting the Nationally Determined Contribution targets was crucial.
India aims to reduce overall emission intensity and improve the energy efficiency of its economy over time.
It found that in Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, the standalone SDAs were working aggressively to implement energy conservation measures as opposed to states where designated agencies were not available.
The standing committee said the ministry and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) did not appear to have taken any fresh initiative to convince the states of the need to set up standalone SDAs.
It expected the ministry to step up efforts to have dedicated SDAs in all states and report the outcome of the results in the committee’s next meetings.
The ministry told the committee that BEE had taken up the matter with state governments to establish standalone SDAs. The Minister of Power had also urged the states to set up BEE-like organizations in the states.
Parliament recently approved the amended Energy Conservation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, to provide for the efficient use of energy and its conservation. The amendment law, inter alia, mandates that residential buildings with a connected load of 100 kW and above would have to meet a portion of their energy requirements from renewable sources. The mandate was earlier applicable only to commercial buildings.
The MoP had, in consultation with BEE, issued a notification to cover all DISCOMs under the purview of the Energy Conservation Act to help reduce electricity losses as part of energy conservation initiatives. All entities having issued distribution licenses under the Electricity Act were notified as designated consumers. Earlier, only DISCOMs with annual energy losses of 1,000 million units and above were notified as designated consumers.
In a recent report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said energy efficiency actions taken since 2000, such as investments in building insulation and efficient cars, had ensured that the energy bills in IEA countries in 2022 were set to be $680 billion less than what they would have been otherwise.