March 21, 2012

Alice in Wonderland

For an Alice in the Wonderland story read the below narrative being currently reported in local Tiruvannamalai papers about a solar powdered school being fined for a faulty electricity meter.

In many countries, organisations and individuals are even paid by power companies for putting power back into the grid. But it seems here that self reliance is a cause of suspicion and punishment.

The below narrative is certainly an eye-opener for those planning to construct ecologically friendly homes in this area.

“The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB), which oversaw an outrageous mismanagement of resources leading to an unprecedented power crisis in the state, has imposed a fine of 10,000 for a faulty electricity meter on a non-profit school that runs mainly on solar energy.

The board's slap-happy decision to take action against the Tiruvannamalai school flies in the face of rules that make TNEB responsible for the replacement of defective meters. To make matters worse, the board has pulled the plug on the school, leaving it without power.

Arunachala Village School in Vediyappanur village, Tiruvannamalai, 200 km from Chennai, was set up in 1999 with one classroom and 40 students, to provide education to poor children. It now has 203 students, from kindergarten to Class 5, who have access to computers.

The school spent 8 lakh on 29 rooftop solar panels in September 2009 so it could be self-reliant and save electricity. "Though there are eight hours of power cuts in the locality, we don't have any problem. We rarely use electricity from the grid," a school official said. "Since our consumption of electricity is very low, we have been able to save 3,000 annually on power bills."

"Last September, some TNEB officials came to our school and told us we would have to pay a fine of Rs.10,000/-. They said our meter had been defective for two years and recorded very low consumption. We tried to explain that we mostly use solar energy and that, anyway, the board has to replace the meter, but they refused to listen to us," he said.

The school officials refused to pay the fine, so the TNEB officials came around again. "This time they asked us to pay an amount based on average consumption since the meter became faulty in April 2009. When we protested, saying we regularly paid for the power we used, they removed the fuse," the official said.

When contacted, the TNEB Tiruvannamalai region superintendent engineer said he would look into the issue.

The school, however, is not holding its breath. "The government says it is promoting solar power in the state, but TNEB appears to be doing its best to discourage the use of this renewable energy source," the school official said.”

No comments: