Study finds electric cookers cheaper for households

Yangyel Lhaden  

Using infrared electric cooking stoves could save more than 50 percent in costs compared with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for household cooking.

This is according to a practical study conducted by the Department of Renewable Energy (DRE) on energy and cost savings from the use of electric stoves.

The DRE chose three households for the study for a duration of a month. Household A with seven people, and household B, with six people, were given a double burner, and household C, with a single person was given a single burner.

The households were able to save more than 60 percent in costs with electric stoves compared with non-subsidised LPG cylinders, and could save between 48 percent and 58 percent in costs with electric stoves, compared with subsidised LPG cylinders.

DRE Director Phuntsho Namgyal said that the study was conducted to promote clean, affordable, and convenient cooking technology in the country. “It is evident from the study and interviews that electric stoves are one of the best technologies in terms of cost.”

He said that switching to electric stoves could reduce import of LPGs and are more convenient, especially during the lockdowns.

According to the National Statistics Bureau, the country imported 6819.944 Kiloliters (Kl) of LPG amounting to Nu 226.731million (M) of subsidised LPG and 1,625.374Kl amounting to NU 68.683M of non-subsidised LPG in 2020.

Energy consumption from electric stoves was studied by measuring energy consumption using smart energy meters with the metres exclusively used for electric stoves to record the energy consumed daily for a period of one month.

A DRE official said that the efficiency of electric stove was computed to be 70 percent and the efficiency of LPG to be 40 percent. The theoretical energy consumed by LPG was considered as the base value for comparing the cost of using LPG or electric stoves for a year.

The cost of non-subsidised LPG was considered to be Nu 1,193 per refill and subsidised LPG at Nu 928 per refill. The electricity tariff used for calculation was the third block of LV domestic tariff structure at Nu 3.64 Kilowatt-hour (kWh).

An official said that the tariff used for the study was selected at the highest to see the maximum cost of electricity incurred to users and the least possible benefit of using electricity over LPG in this study.

Findings with household A showed using electric stove consumed 160.2 kWh energy and cost of electricity was Nu 583.13 a month. Projected equivalent numbers of LPG per month was one and half cylinder, costing Nu 1,789.50 with non-subsidised LPG cylinders and Nu 1,392 with subsidised cylinders.

The cost benefit analysis of electric stoves was compared with the cost of non-subsidised LPG and subsidised LPG required to provide the same amount of energy as the electric stove monthly.

Household A could save 67.41 percent, with monthly savings of Nu 1,206.37 and yearly savings of Nu 14,476.76 if the household used electric stove instead of non-subsidised LPG. Similarly, household A could save 58.11 percent, with monthly savings of Nu 808.87 and yearly savings of Nu 9,706.46 if the household used electric stove instead of subsidised LPG cylinders.

The official said that an individual could save more if the household’s energy consumption was under the first or second block of domestic LV tariff. The electricity tariff structure between July 1 2021 and June 30 is Nu 1.28 for energy consumed between 0 and 100 kWh and Nu 2.68 between 101 and 500 kWh.

Founder of yoe gi thab, Penjor started producing electric stoves in the country and has sold more than 30,000 electric stoves. During the current lockdown, he has sold about 40 electric stoves in Thimphu.

Dechen Dema has been using an electric stove for a year. She said that she had not refilled her LPG for the last six months. “I use mostly the electric stove and use LPG only when there is no electricity.”

Another user, Tashi Dema said that she did not feel a vast difference in her electricity bill after using electric stoves. “I don’t know how much I am saving but not having to depend only on LPG is a big relief.”