Local bodies are keen on reducing their power consumption charges.

Mostly short of funds to take up development works, they say electricity bill consume nearly 20 per cent of their total expenditure. Street lights and water supply constitute a big chunk of the spending on power.

The Thudiyalur Town Panchayat spends about Rs. 10 lakh a year on power supply to street lights. It spends another Rs. 11 lakh on power to bore wells and motors that pump water to overhead tanks.

The local body sources say the money is paid from the General Fund and that it is not dependent on State government funds to pay electricity charges. The town panchayat has 1,905 street lights under 132 service connections.

The source also says that street lights bill works out to 50 per cent of the power consumption charges, which the civic body is trying to reduce.

Recently, it embarked on a power conservation drive by installing energy saver equipment to dim street lights after 11 p.m.

Forty-two devices have been installed in the first phase. A similar number will be installed in the second phase and 48 in the last phase, covering all the street lights.

The story in Saravanampatti Town Panchayat is no different. It has started replacing tube lights with compact fluorescent lamps to reduce electricity bills. More than 250 street lights have been fitted with CFL and more will be replaced soon, says a source there.

These town panchayats and many others, however, have something to worry about. Increase in number of houses leads to installation of more street lights and additional water supply. And that means increased spending on power.

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