Completed Work

Research and workshops conducted

Initially, a basic research was done to understand the functioning of the Tamil Nadu electricity sector. As per the research the outcomes were in the form of three prime reports – 1) Basic facts and gaps in electricity sector, 2) Tamil Nadu Electricity Governance and 3) Barriers to scaling up of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. In regard to this, TN stakeholder workshop was conducted to disclose the research work and to strengthen the same. Thereafter, we have had many meetings and workshops with the key experts in this area, civil society organizations, etc and produced many documents.  Following are the seminars/ workshops conducted by us in association with the project,

CAG along with Madras School of Economics (MSE) and Institute for Financial Management and Research (IFMR) have arranged a stakeholder’s round table conference on 'Holistic Electricity Planning in Tamil Nadu' on July 25th, 2012. The conference was held at IFMR campus, to disseminate our findings and to get the experts opinion on our research at the round table.

On December 10th and 11th of 2012, CAG and People’s Monitoring Group on Electricity Regulation (PMGER) of Andhra Pradesh organized a two day South India coalition workshop. The Day one of the workshop, ‘India electricity project’, was a forum for the partners of the project in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to disseminate each other’s work, share their experiences and insights as a result of the previous research conducted and to explore areas where there might be synergies and propose ways forward.

The second day of this workshop, ‘South India Consultation- Clean and affordable electricity: Pubic and environmental issues and options’ focused on the work being carried out by People’s Monitoring Group on Electricity Regulation (PMGER) of Andhra Pradesh with focus on implementation challenges in select electricity policies. They looked at four policies namely Wind policy, solar policy, Low carbon policy & DSM in agriculture, pertaining to Andhra Pradesh. They analyzed the policy’s efficacy and implementation with the help of the Diagnostic Framework Toolkit developed by WRI. 

‘Empowering Electricity Consumers’ workshop on April 5, 2013 was conducted by the CAG at Asian College of Journalism (ACJ). The main purpose of this workshop was to introduce our Tamil Nadu Electricity Governance Initiative (TEGI) Network and solicit inputs on various governance related issues - right from planning to consumer participation. To realize the overall goal of the project i.e. to have a framework to enable Holistic and Inclusive Electricity Planning in Tamil Nadu to curb the prevailing problems in the sector we initiated the TEGI Network to open up avenues for action by including a wide range of stakeholders - consumers, planners, experts, academicians and others to share their knowledge and expertise on a common platform and come up with a solution. The workshop on ‘Empowering Electricity Consumers’ was a preparatory point that has set a milestone for us.

‘Engaging Farmers on Challenges and Solutions in Tamil Nadu Electricity Sector’

On May 30th 2013, Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) and ‘Siruthuli’ organized a workshop at Coimbatore. This workshop highlighted the problems faced by farmers with regards to supply and distribution of electricity and to come up with feasible solutions. It included advice on selection, installation and efficient operation of pump sets and discussed usage of solar energy, including in pumpsets. It also discussed the issue of free power for pumpsets in Tamil Nadu. 

‘Demystifying the Electricity Act 2003, Policies and Regulations:  Enhancing Consumer Participation in Tamil Nadu Electricity Sector’

The workshop was held on the 20th of August 2013 at the Madras School of Economics (MSE). The workshop had presentations on various topics mainly relating to consumer participation and provisions for participation in electricity sector pertaining to Tamil Nadu. The workshop discussed the various provisions of the Electricity Act that allows for consumer participation and introduced the concepts of open access, competitive bidding and captive generation, including grievance redressal, power theft and unauthorized use of electricity. Two new concepts pertaining to the sector were introduced : the Distributed Generation and the Need Based Energy Management. Issues related to Consumer Grievance Redressal Forums (CGRF) and planning e.g. development of a future Wind Policy were also discussed. 

‘Holistic and Inclusive electricity planning in Tamil Nadu – A roadmap towards an integrated approach’

The workshop was held on the 18th of September 2013 at MS. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF). The main intention of the workshop was to get wider stakeholder opinion on the EGI Framework through a presentation of a tentative Roadmap for the following areas: Enhancing the Planning Process through Public Participation” &Analyzing Electricity Plan Design - Addressing Demand and Supply Challenges”. Some of the comments from the panel discussions were the need for cost benefit analysis of power projects, designing a hybrid grid model to accommodate RE and Conventional generation in the same system and lack of demand forecasting as a result of data gaps.

Members of the TEGI Network were invited by the State Planning Commission to make a presentation and discussion on the electricity sector on September 17th 2013. Areas for the TEGI Network to work with GoTN : a) developing a roadmap on Energy efficiency, b) Studies on true costs of conventional energy versus RE versus EE that could be developed to help the government appreciate the financial implications of different resources supply options, c) Build the capacity of CSOs for stronger involvement in the tariff process through analysis of ARRs, d) Study energy infrastructure requirements and e) CAG could lead a public information campaign on electricity issues – to enhance CSO knowledge in this space. 

Meetings in 2014
A series of TEGI workshops were conducted in 2014 by Citizen consumer and civic Action Group (CAG) to impart knowledge to consumers on various electricity related areas. The following were the TEGI capacity building workshop:

Demystifying Annual Revenue Requirement (ARR) of Tangedco and Tantransco:

CAG along with Consumer Protection Forum (CPF) conducted a capacity building workshop on ‘Demystifying electricity tariff orders to consumers’, in Chennai on 26.4.2014 at Red Cross Society, Chennai. Mr. Sivasankaran, ex financial controller, TNEB, was the key spokesperson of the workshop.

The workshop was about the need for tariff orders/ ARR and demystification of the same. An expert on electricity issues Mr. Sivasankaran, ex financial controller, TNEB spoke about the components that make a tariff order and the accounting principles. He brought out the importance of this capacity building program and empowered consumers on the need for their ‘know-how’ on the subject and the benefits of their intervention.

Mr. Vishnu and Ms. Nikhitha of CAG made presentations on ‘‘10Qs to ask on tariffs’’ and “Existing avenues for public participation in Electricity sector” respectively. 

The similar workshop was also conducted in Salem and Cuddalore to reach the consumer organizations and consumers of that district.

TNERC’s consumer friendly orders/ regulations

CAG collaborated with FEDCOT and conducted three workshops in Trichy, Chennai and Thirunalveli. The chief guests for these workshops were the Chief Engineers, TNEB. Ms. Nikhitha of CAG presented in her presentation, ‘‘TNERC’s consumer friendly orders/ regulations – its compliance and impact’’,  a few consumer friendly orders by the TNERC namely,  a) Demand-side Management (DSM) Regulation – 2013, b) Consumer Grievance Redressal Forum (CGRF) Regulation – 2004, c) Distribution Standards of Performance (DSOP) regulation – 2010 and d) Tariff Order directions – 2012/13 showing their compliance and impacts to the consumers. After the presentation there was discussion on how to tighten the implementation of these regulations/orders.

Energy efficiency

On October 12th, 2014 in Nagercoil, along with FEDCOT, CAG conducted a consumer awareness workshop on Energy Efficiency. The workshop was about creating awareness to the consumers on various energy efficiency schemes and tips on energy conservation. The impact of energy efficiency and energy conservation on the shortage of electricity in Tamil Nadu