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After 3 yrs, Palike revives project to replace sodium vapour lamps

A BBMP baseline survey across seven zones confirms a substantial reduction in electricity consumption after switching to LED streetlights.
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 21:23 IST
Last Updated : 01 May 2024, 21:23 IST

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Bengaluru: After a three-year hiatus, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is reviving its plan to install 5,00,000 LED streetlights across the city.

The initiative aims to swap out energy-guzzling sodium vapour bulbs, potentially slashing the BBMP's annual electricity bill to Rs 86.31 crore — a three-fold decrease. However, the net financial gain might be lower due to higher maintenance costs for the LED system.

A BBMP baseline survey across seven zones confirms a substantial reduction in electricity consumption after switching to LED streetlights.

In RR Nagar and Dasarahalli, for instance, the current consumption is 909 lakh units, which is expected to fall to 302 lakh units with LED bulbs. Similar reductions are anticipated in other zones like East and Bommanahalli, where energy consumption will drop to 346 lakh units from 877 lakh.

Of the eight BBMP zones, Mahadevapura was not part of the survey as the zone already had "the greatest number of LED streetlights".

Bescom’s loss, pvt firms’ gain

The BBMP pays around Rs 256 crore per annum to Bescom as electricity charges and another Rs 53.15 crore towards repairs and maintenance of all streetlights.

Once the civic body shifts to LED bulbs, the electricity bill is expected to come down to Rs 86.31 crore, but the maintenance bill will go up to Rs 95.59 crore, which is nearly two times more. On paper, the new scheme promises to accrue Rs 181 crore to BBMP annually.

This is the BBMP's second attempt to resurrect the LED project.

In February 2019, the civic body enlisted a three-member consortium comprising Shapoorji Pallonji, SMS Infrastructures, and Samudra Electronic Systems to execute the project, with the consortium pledging to conserve approximately 85% of the energy. However, the BBMP terminated the agreement in December 2021 due to the consortium's failure to meet the pre-established benchmarks.

Earlier this year, top BBMP officials decided to revive the project, stating the electricity bill will increase with Bescom's tariff revision.

In its 2024-25 budget, the civic body estimates the electricity bill to touch Rs 283 crore and maintenance of streetlights will jump from Rs 17 crore to Rs 72 crore.

The civic body wants to emulate Mysuru’s LED plan, which it calls a success. BBMP sources do not see the need to deploy one agency to both install and maintain LED lights.

"The contract must be split into multiple parts to encourage fair and competitive bidding,” the official said, adding that the civic body has already replaced many sodium vapour bulbs using its own resources and a fresh tender could only be a duplication of the existing work.

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Published 01 May 2024, 21:23 IST

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