The Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), currently under the Ministry of Power, may soon be merged with the autonomous statutory body, the Petroleum Conservation Research Assocaition (PCRA), thus making it independent of all the energy ministries.
A Committee of Secretaries (CoS) which met last month felt the BEE would function more effectively if it was wholly autonomous. The BEE's task is to develop strategies to efficient energy use and thus reduce the Indian economy's excessive dependence on energy. Among its many activities it has been developing energy efficiency labels which all electrical appliances on sale will be required to carry.
"The CoS has suggested that BEE should be funded by the government in the form of a seed capital to support its energy efficiency programme," said a senior power ministry official. "It was also proposed that the BEE's staffing should be substantially strengthened. Both the suggestions have been accepted in principle by the government."
The CoS has also rejected a proposal of Power Ministry that a cess on fuel and electricity be imposed to generate funds for the BEE. According to the official, during the meeting it was observed that while there is an urgent need to enhance the staffing and to provide adequate funds for BEE, "any cess on electricity would be counter productive as it would add to cost of electricity, adversely affecting the competitiveness of our industry."
Alternatively, a small proportion of the earnings of energy public sector units could be earmarked for the BEE.
The BEE may utilise the resources of the PCRA by implementing various projects and programmes pertaining to petroleum conservation through PCRA. The executive director of PCRA is already an ex-officio member of the governing council of the BEE. In turn, the director general of BEE may be included in the governing council or executive committee of PCRA, sources in the power ministry said.