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Efficiency standards for lighting products to be enforced from 15th

ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to introduce efficiency standards for all lighting products and equipment on Jan 15 as part of an aggressive energy conservation plan for all sectors of economy to reduce energy costs to consumers and be competitive in the market.

The Managing Director of the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA), Dr Sardar Mohazzam, told Dawn that the minimum energy standards for lighting would come into force on Jan15, for motors in February and then for refrigerators and air-conditioners within the next six months.

The NEECA is a federal agency on energy conservation with representation from the provincial governments, the federal ministry of energy and the regulatory authorities to initiate and coordinate all energy conservation activities in various sectors of economy. It was established under the NEECA Act 2016 to enforce necessary measures for efficient energy standards and providing guidelines to provinces and industries.

Mr Mohazzam said the agency had developed energy performance standards for almost every sector of economy in collaboration with the provinces and the regulatory bodies, including those in the petroleum, electricity, housing, transport, agriculture and textile sectors. He said the energy conservation measures, according to an assessment of the Asian Development Bank, could provide 10-15 per cent of savings to national economy and reduce about three million tonnes of oil equipment (MTOE) within 2-3 years against the country’s total primary energy supply of about 88 MTOE per annum.

He said the NEECA had yet to become fully operational after its transformation from the Energy Conservation Centre as it previously operated like a rolling stone under various ministries. “We are trying to break that inertia,” he said, explaining that even after passage of its law in 2016, the NEECA continued to be run until very recently on ad-hoc basis under officers on acting charge basis. Mr Muhazzam is the first full-time managing director of the agency that is still facing “huge technical resource shortage”.

Energy conservation measures can provide 10-15pc of saving to national economy

He said the agency had taken manufacturers of lighting products on board to phase out existing stock of products and switch over to efficient products under a voluntary period of about six months. During this period, “we will set up and operationalise tribunals for mandatory enforcement of these standards” to match developed economies in the face of climate change challenges, he said.

By the end of 2020, all electrical and electronic products and appliances would come under the mandatory regime of the minimum performance standards as the tribunals would enforce monitoring mechanism. That would lead to invite fines and punishments for those not abiding by minimum standards and the matter would be taken seriously.

Responding to a question, the NEECA chief said the agency would not need a large workforce for monitoring and enforcement of performance standards, but make effective use of technology. For example, he said a scratch system would ensure that a purchaser was able to confirm the quality standards given on the label through a simple SMS.

This would also mean that the manufacturers and assemblers would also be linked with the Federal Board of Revenue through a portal to verify if the import and marketing of the product was exactly the same or of the same quality as being charged to consumers.

At present, he explained, consumers were being promised operational life of a product for 10,000 hours, but actually it went out of order in three months.

In future, the promised hours of service would be enforced and there would be a mechanism for redressal in case warranties are dishonoured. The objective is to ensure energy intensity as to how one unit of energy could generate how much to the gross domestic product i.e. more output with less energy.

The official said the government had prioritised three sectors – industry, transport and domestic housing and buildings – in the initial stage and they had cross-cutting themes. For example, power is in use of all sectors and the basic objective is to secure maximum outcome when the country has lower demand but higher supplies. This is important because when the GDP grows, the production lines would become competitive in the international market and play a key role in checking inflation and enhancing exports.

The NEECA, he said, was also engaging with the provincial governments, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority and National Electric Power Regulatory Authority for enforcement of performance standards in their regulated sectors and areas.

Mr Mohazzam said the government was going into an aggressive solarisation initiative in Balochistan with the support of international agencies and the NEECA was engaging with ADB and Nespak for introduction of smaller but more efficient solar panels coupled with efficient pumping motors for tubewells.

He said the industry may struggle initially to meet demand but would overcome the challenge overtime, say within 6 months to one year.

Also, the NEECA has convinced the Naya Pakistan Housing Authority to introduce energy efficient building designs and quality standards by banning low quality equipments and products and phasing out existing products through fresh financing means. For this, the Green Banking Guidelines for Refinancing Scheme of the State Bank of Pakistan would be effectively utilised for energy efficient products.

He said the fan industry had already switched to labelling mechanism and a normal fan using 80watts was now being run on 50watts, thus providing almost 40pc saving against initial estimates of 33pc saving.

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