Electricity Wastage-Case study on Street Lights

Electricity wastage-case study on street Lights

Responsible citizenship- protect environment:
Environmental concerns- avoid wastage- case study -street Lights –proper time of switch off and switch on can save about 10- 15% electricity and other lighting expenses.

                                                                             By CA DEV KUMAR KOTHARI


This article is intended for benefit of public at large to show that how a small initiative taken can contribute to reduce wastage, save public money and increase public welfare.  Wastage of water and electricity is significant almost everywhere – at homes, offices, factories and public places. Wastage of other things are also common. Merely because we can afford and spend  more should not be a reason to give a blind eye to wastage – we must point out such wastage to concerned people and authorities.  Wastage of anything is morally wrong and we must make efforts to reduce wastage whenever it is possible.

In fact avoidance of wastage should be considered as prudent use of resources. We should not feel ashamed while thinking for even small savings by avoiding wastage. Wastage avoided must be considered as protecting present and  savings made for future.

Wastage of anything causes more pollution:

In making and supply of anything power is used in different manner and at different stages. For example, even a glass of drinking water is made available after many processes which require power to collect water, process to clean  water,  transport from larger reservoir to reservoir of public by pipe lines or tankers, lifting of water from underground tanks to overhead tanks, then supply from overhead tanks to pipe line points, water purifiers etc. In all machines used and surrounding for these activities power is used in running machines, lighting, transportation etc.

Power generation generally causes pollution due to smoke, gas and heat emission.

Wasted material also causes pollution due to waste being spread in environment – on soil, in water and in air.

Fiscal incentives:

Governments of various countries have considered importance of environment protection and are providing various capital and consumption related fiscal incentives by way of subsidies and tax concessions. In our country also the Central Government and many state governments have provided such incentives.

Mere fiscal incentives are not enough- we need to change mind set to avoid wastage:

Mere fiscal incentives are not enough. We need to change our mind set to avoid wastage which in turn will reduce power consumption and environmental damages.


Avoidance of wastage must be another mool mantra and it should also be considered as a social responsibility of all public- individually, publicly and organisationally.

Unfortunately, many business entities consider wastage of their product at consumer end as a source of demand. For example, we find some products and their packaging designed to promote wastages. We can easily observe many sources of wastage, for example:

  1. Tubes of tooth paste, cosmetics, medicines, are designed and made from such material and packed in such manner that about 5- 10 % of quantity is not used by many. Concepts of larger outlet opening (mouth of tube) and soft tube are used by many multinational companies to  create demand. Fortunately, at present tubes used in PATANJALI products are better- the mount is small and tube is a little less soft so wastage is less. As a responsible citizen, we must use full content by cutting the tube and using material when it is not possible simply by pressing tube.
  2. Many branded and other water taps are such that causes lot of wastage of water. Many water taps start leaking frequently.
  3. Use and through policy for many durable items are designed to increase demand and causing lot of wastage which can be avoided.
  4. Pride in wastage- people feel pride in wastage to show off their wealth. We can hear many people we do not mind for such small wastage – we can afford. This must be changed.

Contribution as citizens:

As good citizens we can take care to avoid wastage. We can point out to concerned authorities where we find public resources are wasted and a check on such wastage can be easily placed. In public spending even a small check on wastage can avoid larger amount of wastage. For example, on 19.06.2016 author had written to Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC)  about street lights. On 16.07.16 author observed that KMC had  changed time of switch off in morning and switch on in evening reducing lighting by one hour. There is further scope of reducing this time by 30-45 minutes. For which author had written to KMC on 22.07.16. The communication submitted to KMC are as follows:

“ 22.07.16

KMC   : Street Lights in Kolkata.

Please refer to trailing message/ emails.

I am glad to observe that you have considered my suggestions and now changed time for switch off at 4:42 AM and switch on at 5:42 PM thus saving one hour of lighting expenses every day-night of 24 hours. Daily hours reduced from 12 to 11.

I find that even in rainy and cloudy evening there is sufficient sunlight till 6:15 –  6:30 PM so you can revise time of switch on to    6:00 PM to   6:15 PM  depending on sun set time  and save another half hour of lighting daily.

Dev Kumar Kothari”

Earlier message dated 19.06.2016

The Chairman, and concerned officers of KMC

Dear Sirs,

Sub: Save electricity by timely switch off and Switch on of street lights- save environment.


To save environment from heat, gas emission, carbon emission etc. it is duty of every citizen to make his contribution as much as he can. Municipalities and other organizations must also contribute towards this. For this purpose there must be extensive campaign, advertisements, and door to door awareness programs to make people more aware and responsible.

Cleanliness can also be added in these endeavours.  

Street lighting:

I have observed that:

  1. in morning street lights near my house are switched off at about 5:25 – 5:30 AM which is about  35-45  minutes later than the Sunrise and having sufficient light from the Sun. Within   5-10 minutes from the Sun Rise, there is sufficient sun light and street lights can be switched off by about 4:45 to 5: 00 AM.

For example, today on 19.06.16 Sun rise time is reported as 4:52 AM. I woke up at about 5 AM and I found that there was good sunlight and sun warmth. I believe that proper time to switch off street lights could be even before reported sun rise time. Because it seems that sun rise time is reported when there is full sun light. Switch off at 4:45 AM seems right time.

  1. In evening street lights near my house are switched on at about 5:25 PM which is about 35-45  minutes  earlier than the Sunset . Up till  fifteen minutes  before the Sun sets, there is sufficient sun light and street lights can be switched on by about  6:15 PM

Thus early switch on by about 45 minutes and later switch off  by about 45  minutes can save electricity for 90 minutes  =  1.50 hour daily. At present street lights are on for about 12 hours , it can be reduced to 10.5  hours a day and night of 24 hours.  1.5 / 12 x 100= 12.50% saving can be made.

Life of bulbs will also be increased:

Daily 1.5 hours lesser use will prolong working life of bulbs. Though theoretically life of bulbs is shown much longer, however, in practical life we find maximum working life of bulbs about 1000 hours, in case of LED lamps it is claimed to be 50-100K however, I have found bulbs life not more than 3 years ( 10 hours daily lighting. = about 11K hours. It again depend on quality of electricity and times it is switched on and switched off) In case of street lights number of switched on and switched off are one 1 +1 =2 occasions. Therefore life should be longer than in case of domestically used bulbs.

Assuming average life of 15000 hours it lasts on 1250 days if lighted for 12 hours daily.

Assuming average life of 15000 hours it will lasts on 1428 days if lighted for 10.5 hours daily.

Therefore there will be cost saving for bulbs replacement also.

Solar power:

Use of solar power must be encouraged. Solar panel on street light pole can be installed to use electricity and sell excess electricity to CESC.

I hope above suggestions will be considered.

Thanking you

Yours sincerely

Dev Kumar Kothari

Case study- Street lighting:

Author had observed in Kolkata and other places also ( while on tour) that there is lot of wastage of street lighting due to early switch on in evening and later switch off of lights in morning. The efforts of author in writing to KMC as above can be considered as a case study. The KMC has quickly implemented the suggestions and it will save larger amount of electricity, just by avoiding wasteful lighting and without causing any difficulty to the public.

This is an example to show that a little bit of effort made by a citizen can save lot of environmental damages, public money and can improve life.

Request to readers:

Author request readers of this article to take similar initiative and point out to concerned authorities to avoid wastage of anything and resources. Water and electricity are handled in large quantity by public utilities and avoidance of wastage can conserve resources.

Even in news on TV channels we observe that considerable water is wasted when it is provided by water tankers – a question which arises in mind is, whether, wastage is promoted by corrupt officers to increase billing and personal gains by way of commission.

Now-a-days it is much easy to communicate and point out such matters to concerned authorities by email, SMS, etc. The communication get recorded immediately and there is greater sense for responding to the same. Therefore, we must make some efforts which we can easily.

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