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Notwithstanding the controversy over the use of LED bulbs in Mumbai's public places, Union minister for power Piyush Goyal said the entire country will be lit by these lights by the end of 2018.
He claimed this would help save 100 billion units of electricity or Rs 14,000 crore per year. Goyal was inaugurating a national conference on energy audit for educational institutions in Mumbai Thursday.
An outcry had erupted in Mumbai when the old bright yellow sodium vapour lamps along the beautiful Marine Drive were replaced by LED bulbs recently. The new lights barely shed spotlights below the lamp post, plunging the rest of the prime seafront into darkness. The matter went to court, and the judges ruled that the colour of the white lights be replaced to yellow owing to the heritage look.
So months later, main arterial streets as well as gullies across Mumbai are being replaced with LED lights, casting a shadow over women's safety and putting both motorists and pedestrians at grave risk of accident. On the other hand, vast volumes of electricity are routinely squandered as streetlights remain on during the day in various places. The authorities often fail to switch them off in time.
Despite these problems, Goyal advocated LED bulbs saying that "one unit of electricity saved is equal to 1.3 unit generated", considering transmission losses. So the cautious use of energy will reduce cost of production and help save the environment, he said.
Instead he appealed to common people to avoid wastage and save electricity "so that poor households are benefited". Providing electricity to each household is the mission for the NDA government, he said. The government is now exploring a "smart meter" for households that consume over 200 units to show them their consumption pattern and avoid wastage. Understandably, households will incur costs purchasing this contraption. The existing electricity meter reading and units consumed do reflect in their monthly bills anyway.
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