Madurai

Corporation switches to LED street lights, saves power

The darker side: Many residents feel LED street lights are not bright enough and there are dark spots between two lights, as seen on South bank of Vaigai river in Madurai on Thursday.

The darker side: Many residents feel LED street lights are not bright enough and there are dark spots between two lights, as seen on South bank of Vaigai river in Madurai on Thursday.  

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Since all lights are GPS-linked, faulty ones can be identified from the centralised facility

A conscious move by Madurai Corporation to cut down energy consumption by fixing LED (light-emitting diode) lights in place of sodium vapour lamps and fluorescent tube lights on city roads is reaping benefits. Under the Smart Cities Mission programme, ₹28 crore has been allocated for switching to LED street lights across the 72 old wards of the Corporation.

Of the 30,337 street lights in these wards, 28,123 are LED lights now. Corporation officials say 90% of the work is over and the entire work will be completed by the year-end. A couple of years back, tube lights in the 28 wards that were annexed to the Corporation in 2011 were replaced with 22,000 LED lights.

The project

Under the project, old tube lights and sodium vapour lights are being replaced with LED lights. Corporation engineers say the street lights are operated through a Centralised Control and Monitoring System. “Since the lights are GPS-linked, we know the live status of each by simply entering the number of the switch in the system,” says an official. Separate voltage controllers have been installed for better operation and maintenance of the lights.

Ideal choice

Being energy-efficient and having higher luminous efficiency, LED lights are an ideal choice for street lights, says V. Saravanan, Professor, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Thiagarajar College of Engineering. Since LED lights are energy-efficient, they have lower carbon emission when compared to other lights. “These lights have a long life as they can work up to one lakh hours,” he says.

Saving energy

After switching over to LED lights, energy consumption has nearly halved, says a Corporation engineer. “Energy consumption in the old 72 wards is usually around 2,800 kilowatts every month. After conversion to LED lights, it has come down to about 1,500 kilowatts and subsequently the electricity bill has been reduced by ₹18 lakh,” he says. “Once the entire project is completed, the bill is expected to come down by at least 50%,” he adds.

Naysayers

Though residents welcome energy-efficient LED lights, complaints of faulty street lights are also reported from many parts of the city. R. Rathinakumar, secretary, Madurai Panthadi Residents’ Welfare Association, says faulty street lights are often reported on Panthadi Seventh Street and Palmal Cross Street. “When we register a complaint, Corporation officials rectify the problem in two to three days,” he says.

K. Hakkim, an activist, says half the LED lights in Obula Padithurai area are not functioning for the past few days.

S. Felix of Meenakshi Amman Nagar 11th South Street says only an old tube light is working in their area for the last few months. “At night, the entire stretch is pitch dark. Theft cases are often reported in our neighbourhood and residents have to take caution while walking on the dark streets,” he says.

The main problem while lodging complaints is that most pillars either do not have a number or they have been defaced with posters, says R. Jeyaprakash, a resident of Kannanendhal. “Whenever we file a complaint, we have to wait and accompany the officials to help them identify the faulty street light,” he says. However, the Corporation engineer says once the integrated system starts functioning across the city, this issue will be solved as every street light will be GPS-linked.

S. Maran, an autorickshaw driver on New Jail Road, says LED lights are not very bright and there are dark spots between two lamp posts. Potholes on roads are not quite visible, he says. Light thrown by LED lights does not spread out, explains Mr. Saravanan. “The issue can be solved if the street lights are fitted with a lens for wider coverage,” the professor says.

Corporation Commissioner S. Visakan says there will be teething problems whenever a new system comes into being. “It must be noted that the number of complaints on faulty street lights has reduced to a great extent,” he says.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 4:55:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/corporation-switches-over-to-led-street-lights-saves-power/article30292626.ece

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