With a history of over 20 years, Luxten Lighting Company SA is a company that has been through the entire dynamic of evolution for the Romanian society, having also undergone the transformations required by this dynamic. We have spoken to Monica Bucur, Executive Chairman with Luxten Lighting Company SA, about the company profile and priorities during this period, about the way in which the company answers to trends expressed in terms such as “smart city” or “smart energy”.

Dear Mrs. Monica Bucur, Luxten Lighting Company SA is a well-known brand in Romania, after more than 20 years of functioning as a public lighting operator, in over 20 cities. How has the public lighting changed at a national level during the last decades? What was Luxten Lighting Company SA’s role / influence during this period?

Over the 25 years of experience, Luxten Lighting Company SA, as private operator on the market of public lighting services in Romania, is a company that implemented projects which had as business model both the integrated approach for rehabilitation, technological update and extension of public lighting infrastructure, and its efficient operation in over 20 county capital cities, including the municipality of Bucharest. The infrastructure associated with public lighting, same as the majority of national level public utility infrastructures, is over 60 years old, being characterized by physical and moral depreciation. In cities where Luxten Lighting Company SA has functioned as operator / manager / concessioner of the public lighting system, the proposed solutions were based on the evolution of technologies, correlated with their performance and efficiency.

The Luxten Lighting Company SA portfolio totals more than 250,000 lighting points with a sodium source and over 30,000 lighting points with a LED source. Of the LED points, Bucharest has over 14,000 points, which places the capital in the top of European cities with the highest number of lighting points using LED technology.

What is the weight of lighting activities in the current Luxten Lighting Company SA portfolio?

Over 25 years of activity, Luxten Lighting Company SA has undergone various development stages. We started as a lighting source manufacturer: fluorescent tubes, incandescent lamps, gas discharge lamps (1993-1998), and then continued as manager, concessioner and service operator for public lighting at a national level (1998-2009). In 2001 we were granted our first license for electricity supply – License no. 1 in Romania, becoming both manufacturer and supplier of electricity from renewable sources, due to the seven micro-hydro plants in the Valea Doftanei area.

As of 2009 we started supplying integrated energy services: project concept and design for public lighting, operating lighting systems, supply and production of electricity, implementing innovative solutions in the field of lighting, while as of 2014 we offer intelligent systems for administering, monitoring and remote control for public lighting infrastructure functions, gas distribution and supply.

Currently, about 80% of the revenue realized by Luxten Lighting Company SA comes from energy services provided to public and private beneficiaries.

What is a smart city from the perspective of public lighting, in Luxten Lighting Company SA’s vision? Have you already finalized projects of this type? What are the perspectives in this sector?

During the last years, the smart city concept is the most used term in all plans, strategies and events with themes aimed at development objectives for cities. Besides this development trend, Romania, same as all other EU member states, also considers the implementation of solutions and systems which contribute to eliminating pressure for achieving performance indicators imposed by the Europa 2020 strategy.

Starting from these requirements and demands, Luxten Lighting Company SA has given special attention to the promotion and education of beneficiaries, acting as opinion leader and specialized consultant in this field. As such, Luxten Lighting Company SA has selected, identified, particularized and developed the most performing integrated solutions for its clients, using its own resources. Light Smart System is a software solution for managing, monitoring and control for parameters and functions in the public lighting infrastructure. Gas Smart System is designed for the natural gas infrastructure, while Security Smart System is a software solution for providing an increase in the degree of security for infrastructure and prevention of aggressions and vandalism in critical city areas. Luxten Lighting Company SA has also installed LED technology lighting fixtures in the public lighting systems.

Between 2014-2016, Luxten Lighting Company SA has implemented within the MFFEE program (Financing Facility for Energy Efficiency grated to Romanian Municipalities), financed by BERD, integrated projects for “Updating and optimizing public lighting system technical-operational parameters” in the municipalities of Bucharest and Drobeta Turnu Severin. The projects totaled over 10 million Euro, being classed as performing projects from an energy standpoint.

In March 2015, the Bucharest municipality project has been awarded the Trail Blazer prize at the EU BERD Sustainable Energy Excellence Awards 2015, being the largest project financed by BERD in Romania up to that date (4.9 million Euro).

These projects, validated by recognized European experts, have certified our activity, our specialists and, above all, our development strategy, paving the way towards future successful projects.

Your presence in the ESCOROM council is indicative in relation to the company’s involvement in the energy services area. What is Luxten Lighting Company SA’s expertise and which are the main beneficiaries being considered?

Luxten Lighting Company SA has been an advocate of the ESCO concept ever since the beginning, consolidating the efforts of authorities and BERD Romania in creating the framework for implementing this concept in our country. ESCOROM is more than an energy field NGO. ESCOROM has an important role in this action, through both direct communication with Bruxelles authorities, and the capacity of aggregating efforts from several companies acting in the field of energy efficiency. We believe that the assimilation of the ESCO concept at a national level could solve part of the financial blockage faced by most local public authorities in our country when approaching and implementing projects with an energy efficiency component.

The energy services market (provided by ESCO type companies) is still under-developed in Romania. Which are the reasons for this situation in your opinion?

The operating principle of the ESCO concept presumes that the energy savings resulting from project implementation cover the investment value in a reasonable time frame, ever since commissioning, such as 7-10 years in the field of public lighting. In Romania, the fact that the public lighting infrastructure is physically and morally worn out, and its updating/rehabilitation has been ignored for many years, totaling the years prior to 1989 and a large part of the period following the Revolution, renders these concepts unable to be implemented by using the same structure as in the developed countries of the European Union.

The situation is specific not only to Romania, but also to all countries in the former communist bloc. The problem is already under the consideration of the European Commission which, together with authorities in each member state, attempts the identification of solutions adaptable to local level conditions and requirements. Following the diagnosis and analysis of results from projects implemented by Luxten Lighting Company SA, it results that Romania requires a staged approach.

The first step is the update of the existing infrastructure in order to provide equal and undiscriminating access for citizens to the public utility infrastructure. Subsequently, it is required to optimize and manage the technical-operational parameters for the public lighting infrastructure.

As such, in Romania, the ESCO projects implemented in the public lighting segment, should have a fixed component for the update of the public lighting infrastructure designed to equipment for its rehabilitation and update, as well as a component for optimizing and improving the efficiency of the infrastructure so that it generates specific savings for the implemented solutions.

This model would eliminate the considerable impact on the required investment budget, for both achieving standard parameters in the field of public utility infrastructure, and for achieving a value which may be returned in a reasonable time frame, so that it corresponds to the ESCO principle.

Which are the ESCOROM priorities and means of action for developing the energy services market in an ESCO regime?

Following from those aforementioned, ESCOROM has the aim of consolidating the framework for national debate in order to identify solutions and models which enable the alignment of the ESCO concept to the realities of Romanian utility infrastructure and legislative framework. We are also working at educating and increasing awareness for potential beneficiaries in relation to the opportunity of implementing the ESCO concept within undertaken activities.

Another field of action is creating connections between companies which act in the field of energy services, in order to establish future partnerships, but also permanently communicating with the European Commission and other NGO representatives for staying up to date with the new evolution trends of the European ESCO framework and for disseminating knowledge.

07.07.2018 ·