Over all 75 of participants attended the workshop of which about 20% were women. It was an encouraging sign as population of this region is predominated by Other Backward Casts (O.B.C.).
Broadly, the categories of people participated in the workshop are, farmer representatives, grass root net workers, representatives of other NGOs, rural domestic consumers, Local Panchayat Raj Representatives, local engineers & linemen of Jaipur Vidhyut Vitaran Nigam Ltd.etc.
The following are some of the noteworthy participants of the workshop.
Shri R.C. Sharma, Dy. Secretary, Rajasthan Electricity Regulatory Commission, Jaipur;
Shri K. S. Arora, Executive Engineer, Demand Side Management (DSM), Jaipur Vidhut Vitaran Nigam Ltd. Jaipur;
Shri Ashok Sarkar, United State Agency for International Development (USAID), New Delhi;
Shri V.M. Thakor, Nexent Incorporation, Ahemdabad;
Shri Vineet Mehta, Nexent Incorporation, Jaipur;
Shri Rajendra Dixit, Executive Engineer, Jaipur Vidhyut Vitaran Nigam Ltd., Alwar circle;
The basic objective of organising the workshop was to bring all the stakeholders on a common platform to discuss the issues involved and promoting the idea of involving the consumers in power sector reforms.
Similar to earlier two workshops there were to sessions in the workshop, in the first session the CUTS-FES programme was introduced and project objectives were shared with all the participants. The positive response for the programme from village `Bilola’ in Chittorgarh and how it is helping in improving the existing power scenario of the village was also shared. Then the floor was open for an interactive session among various speakers and the consumer representatives.
Shri R.C.Sharma, Dy. Secretary Rajesthan Electricity Regulatory Commission, informed to grass root people about the role of the commission, its role, how it take care of consumer concerns, how a common consumer can take part in the hearings of the commission etc.
Shri Ashok Sarkar of USAID shared information, in very simple language, on the importance of energy efficiency & conservation measures in improving the prevailing scenario of power sector. He informed the participants about how they can contribute in improving the power scenario by changing their practices in favour of reducing the wastage of power. He also talk about switching over to energy efficient appliances like florescent bulbs, more efficient pumps etc.
Shri V.M.Thakor of Nexent informed all the participants that mere technical measures would not be adequate to improve the system and cooperation from people is a must even for implementing the technical measures. He conveyed to people that shifting the demand from peak hours to non-peak hours can help to consumers, especially domestic, in big way.
Shri Rajendra Dixit, Executive Engineer, Alwar circle, shared his experiences of the field and asked to consumers to cooperate so that the system can be improved.
While speakers made their speech, bulk of interesting questions were asked by the net workers and farmers on subjects like, functioning of regulatory commission, energy efficiency, reducing misuse of energy, energy efficient products etc. Basically, it was and interactive session in which people received inputs through mutual discussions.
The second session was of group working, in which all the participants were divided in small groups to discuss the subject and one representative from each group was asked to present about the group discussion.
Outcome of these discussions
The final outcome of the group work has summarised in the form of following major recommendations—
- People were in favour of installing community meter outside the village so that theft of power, in there any, can be identified and measured. The village level committee can be formed to take care of that, and, some incentives can be given for good results.
- A good number of people expressed their willingness to support such initiative.
- Such committee can also serve the function of `grievance redressal’.
- There is an immidiate need for capacity building of the people, especially rural, for creating an environment where people can ensure their active involvement in the reform process, if such workshops could be conducted at district level it can help people realise their role in the reform process.
- Exposure and training for net workers, in places where such initiatives has been taken, can help people about how to ensure their due role.
- There is a need for reader friendly publications and other printed material to disseminate the information up to the rural areas.
- Live demonstration of energy efficient products (like-irrigation pumps etc.) can be an effective approach to communicate about the energy savings.
- There is also need for conducting behavioural and attitude improving workshops for employees of the utility providers also, so that service orientation can be induced in their approach.