Remote Lighting Control Center to Save Power, Improve Traffic Safety

Ho Chi Minh City will save VND10 billion (US$595,200) per year in electricity bills for public lighting thanks to the commissioning of the first modern automatic public lighting center.
The control center locates in a building in district 3 (Photo: SGGP)
City residents will also feel safe while driving on the streets, a national conference on public lighting held last weekend was told.
Director Tran Trong Hue of HCMC Public Lighting Company (PLC) said the center which is being run on a trial basis this month, will work with 12,000 of the total of 95,000 lights in the city.
Multiple benefits
Mr. Hue said that the center had many outstanding facilities including a control center installed in the operating room, a software to manage the public lighting system, a Mobile Map database, a host computer with various servers, accompanied with night screen display to define the status of the lighting points.
“The mother center when connecting the lighting via internet or wireless network will be able to increase or decrease the illumination power in an area in accordance with the density of traffic there. In addition, each light in the system is packed with a chip to memorize and update information about its current operating status and longevity.
“The information will be updated later to the mother center, so the staff at the center will know and give out solutions to make timely improvements if necessary. We expect that there will be no more situations where a light that is not working has to wait for a long time to be fixed or replaced.
Another impressive facility of the center is the “Mobile map” which allows the users to adjust illumination power of the light system in a big area.” 
Riding at night in particular will be much safer once the center is fully operational, Mr. Hue emphasized. 
“Previously, when the city lacked electricity, the company had to turn on one light but turn off another in a particular system or area. This method was not encouraged much since it created light and dark spots on the street troubling and even threatening lives of the riders. However, with this center, the company still can save electricity by adjusting the illumination power of the light instead of turning it off, so the riders will feel safe.”
Mr. Hue said he believed the center would help the country set technology standards for public lighting with remote control and management. It would also contribute to managing the electricity capacity better, updating and making timely improvements, lengthening the life of the lights and reducing installation and replacement costs.
The center would help city to reduce the ratio of sudden systemic problems from 0.4 percent per day to 0.1 percent per day. This will help ensure the safety of the riders and reduce labor costs of the company that has to work extra shifts to repair or replace the lights.
However, the director affirmed that the high operational costs of the center was a serious obstacle.  Moreover, since the center is high-tech, the staff has to be well-experienced and highly skilled. The company has only ten engineers at present capable of handling work at the center.
“The results from the trial will decide whether to expand the work for the whole city or not,” Mr. Hue said.       

By Ai Van – Translated by Truong Son

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