New DelhiVidyut Rakshaka, a community-based energy conservation initiative in Bengaluru, might just be the model way forward to reduce electricity usage. Starting with two neighbourhoods and less than 500 participants in Bengaluru, Phase I of the project has seen 48% households reduce monthly consumption, saving an average of 17%. Meanwhile, there has been a decrease in 10% households whose consumption was increasing every year, said Sumathy Krishnan, executive director of NGO Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE). Krishnan was speaking at a session on energy efficiency at Connect Karo 2017, a three-day global conference organised by World Resources Institute (WRI) India to find solutions to urban problems and push for building of more sustainable cities across India.“Vidyut Rakshaka was conceptualised to create awareness on energy efficiency and energy conservation. It gives customised and generic recommendations leading to savings in electricity consumption for participants. It also tracks consumption in defined neighbourhood in the relevant BHK category and provides comparison with ideal consumption model,” she said.In a city like Delhi, where peak power demand is increasing every year and is even set to reach record 6700MW, such an initiative might reduce pressure on the power grid. However, is it possible to save electricity without compromising on our comforts?“Yes, you can save quite a bit with just a behavioural change. We have observed an average savings of 3,165 units of electricity annually for each household. This could be the savings of every participant. Our recommendations and goals are based on moving to a lower slab, so that the money saved is not just a function of units saved, but a lower cost per unit as well. The performance is measured relative to the community or neighbourhood’s average. Therefore, participants are aware of where they stand,” Krishnan said.The participants have not only been able to save 5-10% in terms of electricity cost, it also reduces our carbon footprint and helps bridge the demand-supply gap in a particular city. A mobile app is coming soon for this project and will help participants keep tabs on their consumption.However, implementation hasn’t been that easy. “There are several barriers. Talking to the resident welfare associations and housing societies hasn’t been an easy task. Making people buy energy efficiency appliances is a behavioural as well as a financial challenge,” Sumedha Malaviya of WRI India said.