Speaking of corruption in these times is becoming a habit. A week ago the newspaper El Mundo published that the street lighting substitution in Valencia cost 30 million euro, making it Spain’s largest tender for LED in terms of money. Now, Anfalum, the Spanish Association of Lighting Manufacturers, want to clarify their position on the matter.
According to the information published by El Mundo last November 28, “in years prior to the approval of the plan to replace street lighting for LEDs in the Province of Valencia (2012), several companies in the sector visited dozens of municipalities proposing a system to change the entire street lighting network -not only part of it- at no cost for the public purse. However, the president of the Council, Alfonso Rus decided to spend 30 million of public money in Spain’s largest Tender for LEDS in terms of money, where the main beneficiary is a friend and neighbor of his, Vicente Quilis, Inelcom business owner, which has been awarded in two years more than 13 million, half of the amount tendered”.
This information extracted from a document prepared by the Technological Institute of Energy (ITE)on June 23, 2010, reveals a somewhat suspect procedure that suggests that there are companies related to the Valencian government that could have profited from that service.
After knowing these facts, Anfalum, the Spanish Association of Lighting Manufacturers, which represents 90% of the lighting manufacturers nationwide, has decided to publish a statement in which it claims that in October 2012 they sent a letter to the Council of Valencia and held several meetings with officials of the same, warning of the risks and problems of substituting the traditional discharge lamps of the street lighting by direct connection LED lamps and other adaptation devices for the installed fixtures.
The Association claims that the information appeared shows that they have not taken into account the recommendations made by ANFALUM who advised that any lamp replacement by LED requires high reliability of the new product being incorporated and therefore supplying companies must offer a relevant guarantee and technical solvency.
Furthermore, they state that the companies awarded by the Purchasing Central of the Valencian Regional Government are not traditional suppliers in the field of public lighting, being the municipalities the end users.
Reliable lighting projects
In view of this information, ANFALUM reiterates the importance of the establishment of preparatory lighting projects, in LED replacement processes and the use of proven quality products and supplying companies that provide security and solvency. When a company, an installer or another agent performs alterations of the essential characteristics of the luminaire such as removing the ballast and / or starter, bypassing or short-circuiting it, or placing a light source that does not support the design made by the initial manufacturer of that fixture, this agent automatically becomes the manufacturer of the luminaire and therefore responsible for it, from all points of view.
The luminaires and lamps, like any electrical or energy-related products, are included within the scope of a number of EU directives, such as Directive 2004/108/CE on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Directive 2006/95/CE on Low Tension and Directive 2009/125/CE on Ecological Design Requirements, implying that they need to carry the “CE marking” as evidence of compliance with the essential safety requirements and other measures required by European legislation.
The “CE marking” is carried out by the luminaire manufacturer after developing a technical file and subsequent declaration in accordance with the rules of design or safety concerning it, who is ultimately who puts the CE logo on the product, accompanying the corresponding information and instructions.
Features of LED lighting
The effect of replacing some luminaires with LED bulbs results in facilities with different levels of light, less uniformity and, consequently, higher shadows, glare and breaches of mandatory limits on obtrusive light set in Royal Decree 1890/2008 amending Regulation approving Energy Efficiency in Outdoor Lighting installations. In street lighting the weight of an LED lamp is nine times higher than that of other technologies and, consequently, this effect along with vibrations and other mechanical actions arising from the outdoor situation of street lighting luminaires, makes it necessary to carry out tests to verify that the existing socket is initially capable of standing the weight of the new light source and does not cause any problem or accident.
Finally, one should consider the issues affecting industrial property and unfair competition practiced by the company carrying out the modification, by associating the modified product with the original luminaire manufacturer. This massive purchase in the Province of Valencia suggests that in this case neither was there previous analysis nor projects.
The Government Purchasing Centrals can generate benefits and savings, but should always follow a process and meet a specific, detailed and analyzed need. In this case, the purchase was made on the first place and the consumption was caused at a later stage through the forced substitution to which local municipalities were invited.
Finally, the Association ensures that beyond possible irregularities of different type that are neither analyzed nor valued by them, a serious mistake was made from a technical point of view. In any lighting adaptation, one must ensure that the best lighting solution is offered through the optimal combination of energy efficiency and visual comfort and all within the strictest respect and observance of the applicable law for product and installation safety. This all means saving while maintaining the quality of lighting.