Sixty-five days before the Commonwealth Games begin in October, right to information (RTI) applications filed by HT questioning the benefit of replacing streetlights, revealed Delhi spent Rs 378 crore on new streetlights that consume more energy than their predecessors.
Both the Public Works Department (PWD) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) have admitted their electricity bill will increase because the new bulbs are more powerful and offer higher illumination.
The RTI findings are in contrast to the climate change action plan — that entails energy efficiency — adopted by the Capital ahead of the Copenhagen climate change summit in December 2009.
The PWD, whose share of the project amounts to Rs 198 crore, stopped short of revealing the change in its average electricity bill, saying it would depend on the number of fittings and hours of operation.
The MCD, that accounts for Rs 180 crore of the project, was more candid: The average annual electricity bill for each streetlight would be around Rs 9,600. There is no comparison with earlier streetlights as records are not available. Officials secretly admitted the increase could be 10-15 per cent.
The idea was to get worldclass streetlights at minimal cost, a Delhi government official told HT. Each streetlight costs around Rs 1.20 lakh.
Kolkata and Guwahati that opted for a similar project, under the guidance of Bureau of Energy Efficiency unlike Delhi, will pay less. Kolkata opted for LED lamps at double the cost of a normal streetlight that save 50 per cent more energy.