Harshavardhan Chitale, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Philips Lighting India Ltd, has lauded Urban Local Bodies for focusing on smart and modern lighting systems in their Smart City plans.
Why do municipalities give least priority to installing streetlights? Does Philips see this as an opportunity?
I don't know whether it's the last thing on their (ULBs') list, because lighting actually impacts and touches lives of citizens the most. Lighting systems give the sense of safety in the vicinity. So you may witness that maximum complaints from citizens are about light. This is mainly because when you have a streetlight lit up, citizens feel safer, impacting their life directly or indirectly. While it appears a very natural thing for light to be there, it's something which impacts the lifeline of a city the most. If you go through the Smart Cities plan submitted by various municipal corporations, 95 ULBs have mentioned 'smart lighting' in some or the other project. And when we talk about smart lighting, it's not just streetlights.
A city has many elements, such as tourist attractions, monuments, tunnels, parks, government buildings, museums, stadiums etc., and all of them have different lighting requirements. So smart lighting can be related to livability, workability and sustainability; smart lighting exactly impacts these three elements.
How can a smart lighting system enhance the revenue stream of city administrations? Will an energy-saving model like ESCO help?
It's just not the Energy Services Company (ESCO) model, but there are multiple examples I can share with you which can enhance the revenue stream of a city. Consider this - when a famous monument gets lit up, with state-of-the-art lighting technology, the footfalls will increase. So at the end, the city administration will benefit.
Recently, as a part of our CSR activity, we managed to give a new look to Mumbai's pride -Gateway of India - with our lights.
The city administration did a survey after we lit up Gateway of India and the finding was astonishing. Business activities have gone up during that period. This was just a simple intervention and the impact was positive. Another example from where city administrations can generate more revenue is stadiums. These stadiums require flicker-free lighting systems to capture sporting moments in a high-definition broadcast. And since organisers of these tournaments want to make them livelier, modern lighting systems can allow that to happen.
To your question on ESCO models, it is being implemented in Pune. We, in association with Tata Projects, are jointly working on retrofitting incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Here, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will not be paying directly to us, but will be using an ESCO model wherein we will get paid in the form of savings from reduced electricity expenses after installing the LEDs.
We are expecting to save energy to the tune of 55 per cent, which will amount to savings of approximately Rs 1.4 crore per annum.
Tell us more about the Pune project...
PMC - under the Smart City initiative - plans to replace as many as 78,000 streetlights with LED bulbs. Apart from saving energy, the LEDs can be programmed based on traffic and public movement patterns. For example, if there is little movement (traffic or public), the lights will dim, and if there is no movement, the light becomes dim to as low as 20 per cent of its total luminance. This further helps to save more energy. The salient features of this project are energy savings, sensor-based lighting systems, and centralised control, to name a few.
The smart energy management system will have a SCADA-based command control system that will monitor the functioning of streetlights. Through this command centre, officials will be informed about any malfunction, theft or any operational hazard.
- RAHUL KAMAT