Electricity consumption has steadily increased in the last two decades and is further projected to increase eight times by 2050. Hence it is important to employ focused policy strategies, sensitize consumers and facilitate market efforts to limit consumption. TIDE and World Resources Institute (WRI) India attempt to address these challenges by empowering residential consumers for electricity conservation. Our proposed intervention VR Lite is a city-level program to build awareness and change people’s behavior towards electricity use. For this, we go beyond technology fixes, as consumption is in the realm of human behavior. VR Lite will provide nudges for behavior change along with best practices for efficient use.
VR Lite facilitates a culture of energy conservation and energy efficiency through awareness, electricity bill assessments, and recommendations to save. It is aimed at reducing electricity consumption in households and facilitating long-term behavior change. VR Lite has evolved from VidyutRakshaka, a citizen engagement program running in Bengaluru as a CSR program of Societe Generale Global Solution Centre (SG GSC).
VR Lite is one of the winners of the Bengaluru Innovation Challenge 2018, conceptualized by the Tata Centre for Development at the University of Chicago and the Urban Development Department of the Government of Karnataka. The funding through Bengaluru Innovation Challenge will provide nudges to residential consumers to conserve electricity. In the process, it will generate evidence on the success and impacts of such energy conservation programs.
The strength of VR Lite is in its collaborations: VR Lite has the support of the Government utility BESCOM. It will also draw from the immense experience of the University of Chicago and its EPIC Centre in Behavioural Science, particularly in the energy space.
We are hopeful that with VR Lite, Bengaluru will show the way for other cities in India how to embrace development holistically and equitably, without paying a huge price on sustainability.