The Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) has given strict instructions to local bodies to Switch on the Street lights at 7.00 pm and switch off at 5.00 am, a Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) spokesman said.
`If we could systematically do the lighting in the evenings we could save a lot of energy and this would assist us to avoid unnecessary power cuts. It would also help the CEB to cater for the Vesak Demand`, the CEB source said.
The wastage occurs mainly in Anuradhapura, Kandy and Colombo.
The hydropower stations Kotmale, Samanalawawe and Kukule had received a rainfall of 45mm, 24.5mm and 27mm respectively, but this was not sufficient. The major reservoirs like Victoria and Randenigala are still waiting for more rain.
The CEB requests the public and business community to be economical in utilizing electricity especially for air conditioners.
A Kandy Municipal Council spokesman said street lights within the town boundary are operated by the CEB and the municipality controls only the municipality building and related CEB building lighting.
`CEB has contracted the lighting system, and it is true that it doesn`t operate methodically within the Kandy city limits`, the spokesman said.
A Colombo Municipal Council spokesman said that monitoring the street lighting process was not an `easy task as they have only 59 staff members for the large amount of street lights within the city limits; he said at least 84 employees are needed.`
`Sometimes we have to send vehicles for this job and it is sometimes 9.00 am when we switch off the street lights`, he said.
The street lights on Galle road up to Wellawatta, Panchikawatta, Maradana and Borella have timers and they have no problem but the Town Hall area street lights have no timers therefore people operate theses lights if we don`t intervene.
`It is very impractical to control the street lights because even if we switch off people will switch on and one employee complained that it is very difficult to convince the consumers in areas like Totalange`, the CMC spokesman said.
He noted that people illegally tap electricity in areas like Wanathamulla and the CEB takes no action against them. In some areas people steal the street lamps and this is in turn a huge cost to the CMC, he said.