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Energy conservation through better service connection.

Pakistan has been spending a colossal amount of its resources on the development of energy sector. The supply - demand situation however persists to be alarming and it would require much more concerted efforts to at least ease the situation.

Amidst this scenario, energy conservation is the need of the day. It is essential that the people in general and those directly concerned with energy and power are educated to become energy - conscious and all possible measures of energy conservation are identified and viable schemes and measures implemented without delay.

This paper identifies electrical service connection as a source of energy losses. The findings are based on actual measurements performed on LT at a number of buildings in Karachi.

It has been demonstrated in the paper that the use of improper service connection is resulting in the loss of energy to the tune of over 300 million KWH per annum for residential and commercial consumers all over the country.

The loss could be saved by employing a service connection consisting of cable of correct size and a circuit breaker in place of conventional rewireable fuse.

An improved service connection will not only save energy losses, it will better protect the network and will make the electrical installation much more safe.


Pakistan with its limited exploited resources, has been spending around 10% of its budget on importing crude oil and 28% in the power sector. Out of the total 350 billion Rupees Seventh Five Year Plan, the allocation for the sector of energy is of the order of 36%. This is a colossal expenditure. But inspite of this burden on the exchequer, half the village of Pakistan are yet deprived of electricity and those who have it are forced to be without electricity for long durations on account of load shedding.

With the present installed capacity of around 6,700 MW, the per capita available power is just 65 Watts which is only about 21% of the average 301 Watts available to the Third World countries. (Compare it with 2800 Watts per capita of USA). Based on the energy consumption forecasts of International Energy Agency it is estimated that Pakistan would require an installed capacity of about 40,000 MW at the turn of century. Knowing the present status, this does not seem to be achievable.

It is said that a Watt saved is a Watt generated. The authors would add that it is much cheaper to save rather than generate a Watt. Therefore it is highly logical and need of the day to give equal importance to energy conservation.

Energy Conservation

Energy Conservation is a very broad subject. It encompasses in it ways and means of optimizing the use of energy. Whether it is a building, a machine or a piece of equipment, its basic design and construction should have in-built energy conservation. The buildings should be used in an energy-efficient style, and should have suitable devices to achieve this.

The machines and equipment, apart from being energy efficient in their basic design, should be operated only when needed. To ensure this appropriate devices should be employed for monitoring of idle or undesired operation of machines.

The energy conservation is achieved only through minimization of losses (lighting an empty room and idle operation of a motor also being losses). It is therefore essential that buildings, machines, etc. are all energy efficient in terms of their basic design and they are used in a manner to ensure minimum use of energy. It is said that penny penny makes many. Applying this to energy conservation suggests that all possible leaks and sources of energy wastage must be identified and rectified. Often the energy conservation measures are of low cost or no cost. By coincidence these are the most crucial areas where human intervention directly comes in. It might be a costlier affair to build an energy-efficient building, but to conserve energy throughs switching off undesired lights, fans, HVAC, etc. merely needs energy consciousness. There is therefore an essential need of educating people and making them energy-conscious. There is also a need to stress upon those at the helm of affairs to keep on identifying sources of energy wastage and to implement viable strategies for achieving a high degree of energy conservation.

The Service Connection

This paper identifies electrical service connection as a source of power consumption and energy losses. The findings and projections made in this paper are based on actual measurements performed at a number of buildings in Karachi.

The connection consists of a tap off from the main line of utility which is routed through a cut out and energy meter and terminates at user's main switch. Whereas voltage drop and energy loss takes place in the tap off connection between main line and cut out also, in order to collect sample data, it was considered adequate to perform voltage drop measurements only between cut out and user's main switch. The load current was also measured. The measurements were carried out at LT supply only for some typical residential and commercial buildings.

It is found that the total annual losses amount to over 300 million KWh which is about 2.8% of the total energy sold to residential and commercial consumers by WAPDA and KESC combined. This loss, taking place only in a section of service connection, amounts to around Rs. 400 million per annum at an average electricity rate of Rs. 1:30 per KWh.

It will be appreciated that the loss can be substantially reduced by using a connection cable of bigger size and by employing such protection devices which have low internal resistance. It will be most suitable to employ moulded case circuit breakers mounted in a "Consumers Unit" along with energy meter and the MCCBs for outgoings. The average cost of such a unit is around Rs. 1,500/-. Installation of Consumer's Units of proper size and design will not only minimize energy losses, it will add life to the installation and will make it much safe for the consumers. These MCCBs also have the advantage of being 'close excess protection" devices and thus they are able to provide better protection to the network they are installed in.

It is also advisable to install Earth Leakage Circuit Breakers for the domestic consumers. These ELCB's not only enhance the safety rating of installation but also disallow low level faults and constant leakage due to worn out insulation, etc.


Energy Conservation is a MUST and it should be undertaken by all at all levels. It is essential that all potential sources of energy wastage are identified - and steps taken to save as much energy as possible. The service connection has been shown to be one such source. By spending just a little more and only for once, a national saving of the order of Rs. 400 million per annum can be achieved for residential and commercial buildings alone.
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Copyright 1990 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Jafri, Sibte Ahmed; Pervez, Khalid
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Apr 1, 1990
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