Central project to install 500 LED streetlamps mooted

When the Corporation is grappling with escalating power bills — they touched Rs.11 crore last year — some respite is on offer. While the civic body is yet to make a formal decision on the matter, a Centrally-funded project for installing 500 Light Emitting Diode (LED) streetlamps in the city within three months is in the pipeline, sources have told The Hindu.

Supported by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), the tenders were only recently floated by the State nodal agency, the Energy Management Cell (EMC). These lamps are based on a relatively modern technology called ‘almanac fed automatic street lighting controller system.’ Although the initial cost is higher, these lamps are said to utilise less than 50 per cent of the power consumed by sodium vapour lamps and would accrue far less maintenance costs.

Moreover, the unique ‘almanac fed’ system permits the time of sunrise and sunset to be programmed into the lighting system. “There are technologies that depend on light sensors, but in time, they turn unreliable when dust gathers over it. This is more efficient in saving power on a long-term basis,” said a senior technologist with the EMC.

The agency added that two locations had been identified for this project, including a stretch of the bypass road, starting at the Akkulam bridge, and the Fort area surrounding Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

This is not the first time that the city has got a proposal on LED streetlights. The Electricity Department, over a month ago, had given the directive to install 100 LED lamps each in 65 municipalities and within the Corporation as part of a demonstration to highlight its power-saving benefits.

The EMC had made all preparations to replace sodium vapour lamps around the Attukal area ahead of the Pongala. But the ceremonious launch did not take place because of an apparent misunderstanding that cropped up regarding ‘supervision charges,’ a fee paid to the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) for replacing the old bulbs with the new ones upon concrete lampposts.

A grant of Rs.4 crore extended to the EMC to set up 6,500 lamps did not take this fee into account.

“For instance, if a local body wanted to set up new lights, they would have to pay the KSEB Rs.150 to Rs.300 per lamp.

A meeting would be held shortly when this technicality can get sorted out and the KSEB itself would bear the costs as both the EMC and the KSEB are organisations within the Power Department,” said a KSEB official to The Hindu.

The lamps have already reached the godown here, said an EMC official, adding that it would take only two days to set up the 100 LED lamps. This would be completed by the end of this month.