‘Energy saving bulbs, key to electricity sufficiency’

01 April 2013, Lagos – Increased use of energy saving bulbs for both domestic and commercial use has been identified as one of the ways of eliminating waste and conserving energy in Nigeria.

The use of such bulbs, experts argued is particularly necessary in the area of street lights to enhance security.

The Chief Executive Officer, Dubrai Contractors Limited, dealers in industrial low energy lights, Mr. Abraham Williams, told journalists last week in Lagos that street lights go a long way in reducing violent crimes in the cities.

He noted that “Since we do not have the levity of power generation and distribution capacity to meet our energy demand, we should imbibe the culture of energy saving through the use of low energy appliances across board; in our homes, street lighting and industrial facilities.”

William insisted that this can be achieved by the government through “massive campaigns, sensitisation, enlightenment and incentives/subsidy to operators who implement low energy appliances or convert from energy guzzling appliances to low energy consuming appliances.”

He added that this “will significantly reduce the pressure on the national grid. The resulting energy saving can be channeled into other meaningful areas. While the financial saving on the part of the operators; federal, state and local governments can also be used for other developmental projects. This will position us among nations that are creating sustainable development.”

He further argued that “Government giant strides taken to light up most of our streets cannot be overemphasized. We will all agree that night related crimes have greatly reduced in our major cities.”

Apart from reducing criminal activities, he said the street lights, where available have reduced accidents on the roads as visibility is enhanced.

“The issue of visibility for roads users at night; driving, jogging and walking at night has become a lot safer as a result of the increased attention that has been given to street lighting,” he said.

He added that “the availability of security and safety at night has created that enabling environment for commercial activities to progress into the night or overnight, thereby creating enormous economic benefits.”

In his opinion, the concept of introducing street lighting in our major cities goes a long way to demonstrate government vision and aspiration for Nigerian people, and as such, street lighting has become one of the major components for sustainable security and economic growth in the country.

However, in spite of its benefits, Williams noted that the operating costs for such street lights is much higher than the execution costs because of the non-use of low energy bulb.

According to him, the high operating costs is due to the consumption capacity of each street light (250 watts per pole averagely). “So, for Abuja our capital city which have more than 300,000 Street light poles and still expanding, we are looking at total average energy consumption of about 75MW,” which are power either from the National Grid or diesel generators.

He further argued that “Powering the nationwide Street Lights through the National Grid has enormous challenges due to our power generation (approximate 4000MW) and distribution capacity,” just as much as using diesel generators with attendant high costs and the environmental implication of carbon emission.

He noted that the challenges of global warming has facilitated technological breakthroughs, which now make it possible for manufacturers to offer environmentally friendly, healthy and efficient low energy street lights with energy consumption as low as 35watts, and lumen efficiency as high as 115 lumen/watt and life expectancy of 15,000 hours.

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