When the Hudhud cyclone hit the east coast in 2017, the first success story of retrofitting streetlights with LED bulbs emerged.
Seven districts in Andhra Pradesh were retrofitted with a million LED streetlights, accruing a benefit of Rs 82 crore annually on the power bill of the state. Since then, LED street lighting has caught on in the country.
At the forefront is state-owned Energy Efficiency Services (EESL), which led LED programmes in the country, including the streetlights. The first retrofitting programme it did was for Puducherry in 2014. In the past five years, it has installed 10 million LED streetlights across the country. The scheme touched almost all states in the country, covering 270,000 km of roads, claimed EESL.
“The installation of 10 million LED streetlights resulted in annual energy savings of 6.71 billion kWh, resulting in cost savings of approximately Rs 5,570 crore annually,” Saurabh Kumar, managing director, EESL, told Business Standard. The company itself has a total of Rs 900 crore during the last financial year from the scheme, which is expected to touch Rs 1,400 crore in the current financial year.
For successfully running the programme, EESL even trained maintenance staff of the municipality. It also created occupational standards, along with National Skill Development Corporation.
Among private companies, Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDDL) executed ‘Streetlight Project’ of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) last year for the 104 wards of North Delhi Municipal Corporation area. It converted 85,000 streetlight points into LED lights. It replaced more than 135,000 lights with LED, leading to savings of close to 85 Mw of the power demand load.
Taking the task ahead, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the ‘Mukhyamantri Streetlight Yojana’ last week. Under this scheme, over 200,000 streetlights would be installed in the city. “There are many dark spots at different parts of Delhi, where women are unsafe. We will identify such spots and install 200,000 streetlights so that women feel safe in the city,” said Kejriwal in a public statement.Streetlight installation still face challenges. Poor electrical infrastructure is the prime concern. In some cases, there is no dedicated streetlight infrastructure.
In the next phase of its streetlight programme, EESL will focus on gram panchayats. The number of lights required for lighting villages is estimated at 35 million, EESL said. The company is also planning to convert all streetlights in the country to LED.