My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: JPSCo and CMI to retrofit Streetlights with LED Lightbulbs - Fixing Day Burning Streetlights as Ban on Incandescent Bulbs needed

Monday, August 11, 2014

JPSCo and CMI to retrofit Streetlights with LED Lightbulbs - Fixing Day Burning Streetlights as Ban on Incandescent Bulbs needed

JPS Co (Jamaica Power Service Company) and the CMI (Caribbean Maritime Institute) have struck an unlikely deal but one that was fated to occur.

They’ve decided to retrofit some 200 Streetlights with LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs in a contract worth some JA$5.17 million as stated in the article “JPS, Maritime Institute sign $5.17M deal to retrofit 200 streetlights with LED bulbs”, published Friday, August 08, 2014 7:01 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

Back in July 2013, both the JPS co and the CMI had signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) to retrofit some 30 streetlights on the Palisados Road with LED Bulbs. Thus this contract aims to complete the good work that was started by finishing up with an additional 200 more streetlights to be similarly retrofitted.

CMI Engineering students will start in the next three (3) weeks to do their retrofitting these streetlights in the Rockfort Community, the Harbour View Roundabout and the road to Port Royal from the CMI onwards. Jamaicans coming to and from the Donald Sangster International Airport will soon begin to notice that the Streetlights will have a Daylight appearance instead of the orange glow of the traditional incandescent bulbs.

Streetlight LED Retrofits – Upgrades from Incandescent Day Burning Streetlights

More interestingly, the replacement of the incandescent bulbs with LED Bulbs not only reduce the GOJ's Light Bill, being as LED are more energy efficient and brighter at a lower wattage, but the photocells will be replaced as well. This means the problem of day burning streetlights as pointed out by JPS Co Corporate Communications Manager Winsome Callum in November 2011 in my blog article entitled “Alternative Energy Contract for JPS Co Streetlight Upgrade Coming - JPS Co Winsome Callum's Bourne Supremacy” will be finally addressed, at least for this strip of road.

By December 20102 the Ministry of Local Government, led by Minister Noel Arscott began to take an interest in retrofitting Streetlight with LED's as a means of reducing the Electricity Bill of Local Government as it relates to Streetlights as noted in my blog article entitled “GOJ to introduce Solar or Wind powered LED Streetlights in 2013 - Amor for the Jamaican Les Miserables Energy Sector Liberalization”.

The GOJ is looking for ways to make Local and Central Government more efficient as their bill of JA$2.8 Billion Electricity Bill per annum for the estimated 93,000 Street Lights across the length and breadth of Jamaica is a very heavy burden to for taxpayers to bear. Most of that bill is from Streetlight that burn during the daytime instead of the photocell shutting them off in the daytime and hence making their electricity bill bigger than what it should be.

Even more troubling, many communities in Jamaica have non-functioning Streetlights, making it essential to get the system running more efficiently by making sure all upgrades and retrofits are using these new LED Streetlights.

Thus any assistance that the Minister of Local Government Noel Arscott can get in reducing this bill, be it in via LED Lightbulb upgrades/retrofitting or even the use of Solar Panels or Wind Turbines to power the Streetlights to take them off the grid altogether is obviously greatly be appreciated.

To his credit a Streetlight project had been started under contract by Green Energy RG (Green RG Management LLC) in January 2013 to retrofit some 5000 Streetlights in three parishes with LED Bulbs as reported in my blog article entitled “Green Energy RG installing 5000 Solar Powered LED Streetlights in Jamaica - Local Government's the Gangster Squad West of Memphis towards a more Energy Efficient GOJ”. Those areas in Clarendon hat were slated to get the retrofits were:

1.      Clarendon
2.      Kingston and St. Andrew
3.      St. Catherine

I am back in Clarendon and personally haven't seen any of these brighter Daylight LED Streetlights. Perhaps the contractor for Green Energy RG have yet to reach Clarendon as they may still be working on the St. Catherine leg of the installation. I'll definitely be looking more into this myself, as the project should have begun to make a visible impact in Clarendon by now.

Streetlights and Solar Panels – Ban on Incandescent bulbs and support for LED’s needed

So most likely the Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Phillip Paulwell was there just to comment on the usage of LED Bulbs in the retrofit, albeit the Ministry of Local Government, Minister Noel Arscott, should have been in attendance as this directly relates to his Ministry.

This was because the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining is still contemplating a deal with the Cuban Government to make Solar Panels and LED Bulbs as reported in my blog article entitled “Minister Paulwell revives Cuban Light Bulb Program - How to Ban Incandescent Bulbs and focus on production of LED Bulbs in Jamaica”.

Already, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining has plans to upgrade 15 Secondary Schools with Solar Panels in a PCJ (Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica) funded project worth some JA$62 million as reported in my blog article entitled “PCJ to install JA$62 million Solar Panels Systems - 16 Schools and 3 GOJ Institution Guinea-Pigs has Wigton III Project Venezuelan Connection”.

To that end, the Jamaican Public can help by banning the use of Incandescent Lightbulbs in favour of LED or even Fluorescent bulbs as suggested by past JPS Co President my blog article entitled “JPS CEO Damian Obiglio wants Incandescent Bulb ban - Jamaican in the Twilight Zone”. Wherever possible, Jamaicans need to be provided with LED options for Lightbulbs.

Still, it'll be interesting to see how this LED Retrofitting project for Streetlights being embarked upon jointly by JPS Co and the CMI pans out. Being as this is just the second phase, it'll be completed on time and on budget. I hope to eventually say the same for the Ministry of Local Government under the leadership of Minister Noel Arscott.

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