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Automatic streetlights for safety and savings - CEB pays over Rs. 2.6 b for streetlights; pilot ...

Sep 26, 2011 2:30:21 PM - www.ft.lk

CEB pays over Rs. 2.6 b for streetlights; pilot project in Peliyagoda; 400,000 lights illegal

In an effort to conserve energy and save money, the Government is to install automatic street lights across the country, the Power and Energy Ministry said in a statement yesterday.  A pilot project of installing automatic street lights is currently underway in Peliyagoda.  The automatic lights will be lit from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.  Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said in the press release that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) incurs an annual loss of Rs. 2.673 billion due to power costs on street lights.

In a telling oversight, no municipal council or local government authority is charged with paying the CEB for the electricity consumed by street lights, leaving the CEB to foot the entire bill. A large part of CEB’s losses are routinely attributed to street lights, prompting the installation of fewer new lights.
Ranawaka says that a majority of the street lights are illegal. Out of the 700,000 street lights islandwide, a staggering 400,000 are illegal. However, this is nowhere near the number of lights actually needed.
The Government reportedly spends Rs. 200 per day to maintain a 250kw street light. The Power and Energy Ministry says the street lamps use around 150 megawatt hours per month.
With increased vehicle traffic, the number of accidents has grown exponentially. In the seven months to July, Sri Lankans have registered 292,297 vehicles up 57.5 per cent from a year earlier.
This has resulted in a corresponding increase of accidents as well, prompting authorities to increase the number of street lights to raise road safety. However, there is no timeline as to when the pilot project will be expanded to include the rest of the country. Making local authorities responsible for paying the CEB for electricity used for street lighting is also not in the pipeline as yet.