BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 24th April 2020)– With the changeover of the street lights to the eco-friendly Light Emitting Diode (LED) ones in the Streetlight and Floodlight Retrofit Project- being handled by the St.Kitts Electricity Company Ltd. (SKELEC)- the old lamps are expected to be thrown away via an environmentally safe process.
These eco-friendly streets lights are currently being installed in the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis in a 15.6 million project rolled out through a loan provided by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Notably, the SKELEC is continuing its switching ways it had in place for over two years to before this new two-phase scheme that is expected to see some 10,760 lamps altogether being installed on both islands.
On Thursday 23rd April 2020, members of the media attended a changeover of streetlight event in the Newton Community within the vicinity of the dental clinic and health center.
These lights which are being rolled out in a one-year phased project to save on future lighting costs and make the Federation more energy-efficient.
Renewable Energy Special Projects and Planning Engineer Rondel Phillip of SKELEC explained the process.
“Basically what we’ll be doing in the changeover of the bulbs. We have the high pressure sodium bulbs, mercury bulbs and so what we’ll be doing is the arc tube is what we’re going to be shipping back overseas for disposal. Over the years… we’ve been eco- friendly.”
He continued: “The vapours within these tubes are harmful once inhaled once it’s exposed into the atmosphere so that’s the main reason for changing them out. So what we do you’ve seen, we take down the old lights and separate the bulb from the fitting. the bulb is then packed , placed in drums and they’ll be in a container waiting to be shipped overseas to a facility that’s going to crush the bulb , take out the tube and supposed of the tube properly and collect the gases and dispose of the gases in an environmentally safe manner.”
SKELEC General Manager Clement Jomo Williams said the company has taken a proactive approach to this project.
“Even before we started rolling out the CBD project, we have been changing over LEDs for over two years now so when the project started we had some almost 6,000 lights allocated and since, we have changed approximately a thousand of these which would mean that thousand would end up being our stock for replacement.”
Minister of Public Infrastructure, Post, Urban Development, and Transport Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd spoke about the safety and energy saving benefits of the news lights.
He said he has received feedback from residents on St.Kitts “who are clamoring for street lighting in their neck of the wood” whilst noting “I know it would enhance the safety and security of our different neighbourhoods here in St.Kitts and Nevis.
Minister Liburd continued: “It is important to note as well-apart from the environmental benefits is the fact that from a fiscal standpoint-in the long term, the government would be at least reducing its cost for lighting our streets …we cannot lose sight of the fact that to provide street lighting, it costs the government millions of dollars each year and we’re going to be reducing that cost though this project
He also commended SKELEC for assisting with the government’s policy and decision in particular having offered the three-month moratorium to customers.
“We know that it has impacted negatively on its cash flow but I believe that in a time like this, a company like SKELEC ought to show compassion and we’re happy that they have come onboard.”