About eMARC

Background

Electricity consumption by homes forms about a quarter (24% in 2018-19) of India’s total electricity consumption according to CEA. Increasing urbanization, growing demand for cooling, and increased use of appliances are the major contributors to the residential sector’s rapid electricity consumption. Household electricity consumption varies with income, geography, behavioural tendencies, and supply quality. Understanding the factors and behaviours that lead to variation in consumption patterns across states and households is important for managing electricity demand. A few studies primarily based on household surveys in the recent past have examined some aspects of residential consumption like appliance ownership and purchase patterns. However, accuracy of information on actual electricity consumption in homes collected through surveys can be limited. This is because of two key reasons: (a) respondents may have difficulty in recalling the actual use of appliances and at different times of the day; and (b) the actual power consumption of appliances may be different from the rated power consumption claimed by the manufacturer.

eMARC

eMARC, short for Monitoring and Analysis of Residential Electricity Consumption, is an initiative by Prayas (Energy Group) developed to address this knowledge gap; by collecting minute-wise electricity consumption data of entire homes and selected appliances. Under this initiative, GPRS enabled energy meters have been installed on the main line of the homes as well as selected appliances such as refrigerators, to monitor their minute-wise electricity consumption. Using an IoT based system, data is collected on a server and analysed. Monthly consumption and daily load curves (non-personalized) recorded by these meters are available on the website emarc.watchyourpower.org. Two energy meters are typically installed in a home. One is installed by a trained electrician on the main line and the second monitor is connected to a refrigerator. Both the meters measure electricity-use data including electricity consumed (kWh), active power (kW), voltage (V), current (A), and power factor (pf) per minute and send this information to a server using GPRS. The measurement chip/IC in the meter conforms to IS3779.

1 How eMARC works

Figure 1: How eMARC works?

Sample

The eMARC sample of households is distributed across urban, semi-urban, and rural areas of two states, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. About 270 energy meters were installed in about 140 households.  The sampling plan was designed to include households from varied economic strata and appliance ownership, i.e. have a varied set of appliances such as basic appliances (lights, fans, and refrigerators) and high electricity consuming appliances (such as air conditioners and water heaters). In Pune city, most of the energy meters were installed beginning January 2018. In the semi-urban and rural areas of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, the energy meters were installed around March 2019. 

Our final analysis is based on data from about 200 energy meters from 115 households. Over the course of the time, some households dropped out of the initiative. We also did not consider the households where data did not meet our minimum threshold of availability of 80% of the data. The final sample of the households is given in Table 1.

Region Appliance ownership Total
Basic Water Heaters but no AC With Air Conditioners
MH Pune city 12 16 14 42
Pune 20 1 4 25
Aurangabad 20 4 2 26
UP Gonda 10 2   12
Kanpur rural 10     10
Total 72 23 20 115

Table 1: eMARC sample distribution

Data sets

eMARC data

Minute-wise data recorded by the eMARC meters installed in 115 homes in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh was used in this analysis. The analysis period is from January 2018 to June 2020. The minute-wise data consists of five parameters, voltage (V), current (A), active power (kW), power factor, and consumption (kWh). Data from both the meters installed in a home (i.e. on main line and on an appliance) was used. 

Household survey data

We also carried out a detailed household survey in the eMARC host households to get insights into the appliance ownership and usage patterns observed in the data recorded by the meters. The survey was divided into sections of appliances used for lighting, space cooling, cooking and refrigeration, water heating, entertainment, and transportation. Details of number and star ratings of these appliances, type and usage patterns were recorded in the survey.

We have published the data on the electricity consumption and the load averaged over 15 minutes block for all the households in the sample along with a summary of appliance ownership. This data is available for download at Harvard Dataverse.

 

Contributors: Aditya Chunekar, Abhiram Sahasrabudhe, Shweta Kulkarni

Please contact Aditya Chunekar (aditya@prayaspune.org) for questions or comments.

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