The Telegraph
Sunday , May 4 , 2014
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Bengal to save on energy bill

Saurabh Kumar (left) in Calcutta on Saturday. Picture by Kishor Roy Chowdhury

Calcutta, May 3: Power-surplus Bengal is likely to take up a Rs 300-crore energy conservation measure for street lights of Calcutta.

“Bengal has been a very progressive state in energy conservation and is soon expected to sign a contract worth Rs 300 crore to switch three lakh street lights to LED lamps,” Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) managing director Saurabh Kumar said here today.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an energy sustainability seminar organised by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI).

“Covering three lakh street lights of the metropolis is the country’s largest, probably the world’s too, in terms of coverage of street lights. The project envisages switching to smart LEDs from sodium vapour lamps,” Kumar said.

He said a pilot project has already been undertaken and “we hope to sign the deal after the elections”, he added.

EESL will provide the entire capex to replace the street lamps and the payback for the nodal agency will come from the savings from a lower energy bill.

Once the street lights are replaced by new LEDs that will save 50-55 per cent of energy, the three lakh street lights can be controlled and monitored centrally as the lamp posts will have GSM connectivity. In other words, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation can switch on and switch off the lights and even dim it at late night.

EESL is promoted by state-owned entities under the ministry of power and its mandate is to implement and popularise energy conservation projects.

A collaborative research between Jadavpur University and the University of Leeds has found that 10 per cent of the city’s income is spent on its energy bill.

“The annual energy and maintenance bill is Rs 125 crore. With this project, the annual outgo for the government will be lower may be by Rs 10-15 crore without any spending. The bill then would be fixed for the next seven to nine years, even if the power tariff is revised upwards,” he said.

EESL is eyeing a turnover to Rs 100 crore in 2014-15 on the back of other projects in Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The firm is also doing an energy audit for the Bengal Chamber of Commerce.