Aythored By: Vinay Singh Chandel
It is imperative to reduce the utilization of energy by diminished use of energy service. Conservation of energy is the need of the hour and has the power to bring robust ecological quality, national security, the financial security of an individual, and higher savings. Effective use cannot be achieved, but efficiency can be attained by conserving energy and also helps in countering resource depletion.
The Energy Conservation (EC) Act, 2001, provides the legal framework for promoting energy conservation and energy efficiency activities which include primarily Standards and Labels for appliances and equipment, Energy Consumption norms for Energy Intensive Units, Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) for commercial buildings, Demand Side Management (DSM) programs for existing buildings, streetlights, agricultural pumping and SMEs, Certification of Energy Auditors and Managers. States shall notify State Designated Agencies (SDAs) to enforce Act in states 35 SDAs notified including Jammu & Kashmir.
The enforcement mechanism is robust and as per the present generation standards. The role of Inspection in the case of defaulters is recognized during the time of inspection, the provisions of Inspection Rules, 2010 mentions that the IOs appointed by the SDAs will prepare reports shall be responsible for moving SERCs to initiate proceedings.
Section 27 of the Energy Conservation Act empowers the SERCs to appoint any of its members to be an AOs for conducting an inquiry in such manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government, after giving any person concerned a reasonable opportunity of being heard for the purpose of imposing any penalty. During the inquiry, AOs possess the power to issue summon to any person who, as per the AOs, is acquainted with the background of the case and is capable of presenting evidence or document relevant to the inquiry. Followed by the inquiry, the person is allowed to represent, if AO is satisfied that the person has failed to comply with the provisions of clauses of section 26, after which he may impose such penalty as he thinks fit in accordance with the provisions of the Act. While adjudicating the quantum of penalty under section 26, the AO shall regard factors such as the amount of disproportionate gain or unfair advantage, wherever quantifiable, made as a result of the default; Repetitive nature of the default.
If the person is not satisfied, he can move the Appellate Tribunal since Civil Court’s jurisdiction is ousted to entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any matter which an AOs appointed under this Act or the Appellate Tribunal is empowered. The Act also bars injunction granted by any court or other authority. The Central Government came up with the GSR 25, dated 21.3.2009, stipulating the manner of holding inquiry by the adjudicating officers exercising the powers conferred under Section 56 of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
Inspection related to Appliances, Buildings & Industries is enshrined under and procedure of inspection under Rule 5 of the Inspection Rules, 2010 where BEE has proposed many amendments which will be considered by the Central Government. The compliance is ensured under section 14 of the Act that empowers the Central Government to enforce efficient use of energy and its conservation.
The following sections are relevant when an IO is inspecting non-compliance, which are enumerated as follows: –
Section 14 (c) prohibits the manufacture or sale or purchase or import of equipment or appliance specified under clause (b), unless such equipment or appliance conforms to energy consumption standards and section
Section 14(d) directs display of such particulars on label on equipment or on appliance specified under clause (b) and in such manner as may be specified by regulations.
Section 14(r) directs every owner or occupier of the building or building complex, being a designated consumer to comply with the provisions of energy conservation building codes for efficient use of energy and its conservation;
Section 14(s) directs any designated consumer referred to in clause (r), if considered necessary, for efficient use of energy and its conservation in his building to get energy audit conducted in respect of such building by an accredited energy auditor in such manner and intervals of time as may be specified by regulations;
Section 14(h) directs to ensure having regard to quantity of energy consumed or the norms and standards of energy consumption specified under clause (a), the Energy Intensive Industries specified in the Schedule to get energy audit conducted by an accredited energy auditor in such manner and intervals of time as may be specified by regulations;
Section 14(i) mentions that any designated consumer to get energy audit conducted by an accredited energy auditor that if it is necessary for efficient use of energy and its conservation;
Section 14(k) directs any designated consumer to furnish to the designated agency, in such form and manner and within such period, as may be prescribed, the information with regard to the energy consumed and action taken on the recommendation of the accredited energy auditor;
Section 14(l) directs any designated consumer to designate or appoint energy manager in charge of activities for efficient use of energy and its conservation and submit a report, in the form and manner as may be prescribed, on the status of energy consumption at the end of every financial year to the designated agency;
Section 14(n) directs every designated consumer to comply with energy consumption norms and standards.
India struggles to possess an integrated energy security approach in fact, it has to spread amid various related strategies drafted by the concerned services of the Union government. We have witnessed the discovery of it, in The National Biofuel Policy 2008, The Integrated Energy Policy 2005. India also has not pondered on having an Energy Security Act or some other enactment addressing exclusively energy security concerns. In any case, we see that the revision of 2010 has brought about effective and efficient changes in the policies and if tailored and carried up properly would bring significant advances and progress. It would be commendable if along with the measures of the government, every individual understands the gravity of conservation of energy and contributes a bit towards its conservation for the future generation.
The Author is currently practicing as an advocate at the High Court of Delhi.