If all goes according to plan, by 2019 all streets in Bengaluru will be brightly lit up with LED lights, which will be replacing the power-consuming sodium vapour lamps. And guess what, while reducing power consumption and thereby the power bill by more than half of its present level, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) would be investing nothing on the project.
The private company that will bag the contract will have to invest and replace around 4.85 lakh sodium vapour street lights, but will recoup their investment over the next 10 years, taking a majority share (75%) of the amount of power dues that is saved. BBMP will benefit from a reduced power bill (the remaining 25%).
Every month, the BBMP pays ₹12 crore for street lights. What will be the power bill with LED lights? Around ₹6 crore.
“The sharing will go on for 10 years, during which time the company will also maintain the lights,” said BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad, adding that BBMP's spending on the power bill will effectively reduce to ₹10.5 crore. The civic body will also save ₹30 crore per annum on maintenance.
International Financial Corporation (IFC), a sister concern of World Bank, has been roped in as a consultant for what is being termed the 'biggest street light project' in the country. IFC has already set the ball rolling and has begun a survey of the entire city and its lighting needs. While BBMP has around 4.85 lakh street lights, the survey will also identify areas which need street lights. Following the survey, it will prepare a bid document and tenders will be floated.
Multiple companies are expected to bid for the project now estimated to cost ₹560 crore, with a single LED bulb costing around ₹10,000. The IFC will assist the BBMP in the process of selecting the best bid. The basic selection criteria would be the amount of energy the company can guarantee saving. The selected company, and not the BBMP, will be paying the IFC for its service.
“The project is based on the energy saving model, which is being undertaken on a smaller scale in Bhubaneswar in Odisha and Jaipur in Rajasthan. Right now, the city has problems regarding sufficient lighting. While some streets have lights, they are either not functioning or are not bright enough. Some areas don't have any illumination. The project will cover the entire city and the lights will be controlled by the central control room of the BBMP,” said Mr. Prasad.
The tender is likely to be called in two weeks and the entire project may take close to two years to be completed.