Renganathan Narayanan once dreaded receiving his electricity bill. The expense was “too much for a family of only 3 members”, he felt. But since March 17, 2017, his electricity bills have stopped. Renganathan is now on a mission to tell everyone around him to stop “putting money in the drain”.
The story began in 2017. Renganathan was walking aimlessly around his neighbourhood, when he saw some serious work going on in a nearby house. A plumber could only tell him that something was being done by the owner so that the house would be “brighter always”. On talking to the owner, Renganathan felt a surge of energy.
He caught hold of the contractor engaged by the owner & insisted on the same arrangement. Government approvals were a breeze, and Renganathan soon had an agreement from the electricity supply company to buy excess power production at a fixed rate for the next 25 years.
“March 17, 2017 was a day I could never forget in my life. That was the day I got freedom from paying my electricity bill,” exclaimed Renganathan.
Since then, Renganathan has been actively spreading the word & helping others gain independence from electricity bills. “A friend running a Technical Institute could not believe that he could stop paying legally Rs. 27,000 (US$380) per month to the electricity board & utilise the vast 4000 square feet of terrace which is otherwise unused,” he shared.
Renganathan points out that in Karnataka, where he lives, there is a “well-defined” process to follow for those who want to install grid-connected rooftop solar. He estimates it takes just 30 days to complete the whole process.
In other states, however, policies (or the lack of them) may prove to be a barrier. Renganathan has written to relevant authorities to appeal for more streamlined processes.
From advocating for friendlier government policies, to giving talks and sharing on social media, Renganathan leaves no stone unturned. What keeps him going?
“During my travels (in Chennai, India), I found hundreds of eating places lighting their shops with use of diesel or batteries. Little do they realise the health hazard of using diesel,” Renganathan lamented.
“Solar energy is available in abundance and free for all of us. Since I have tested myself, and am satisfied and benefited, I would like all my brothers and sisters to enjoy the benefit,” Renganathan declared.
“I strongly believe we must utilise natural resources like solar energy (and also our smiles) fully and utilise the money saved for productive purposes and helping deserving countrymen.”
To contact Renganathan or find out more about his work, visit thooppulwt.blogspot.com.