Why LED Street Lights for Westbrook?

Posted on December 2nd, 2017.

  • Eversource’s bills for lighting our streets have gone up 43% in only four years, from $62,530 in fiscal year 2013 to $89,707 in fiscal year 2017.  This is now our second largest electric bill after the high school.
  • Generation (or Supply) charges have increased 16%, but Delivery (including maintenance, or overhead) charges have gone up 55% over the last four years.
  • Retrofitting 625 LED street lights will save an estimated $77,000 a year, pay back installation costs in 5 years and save over $1 million dollars over their estimated life.  This will help to reduce future property tax increases.
  • New, less blue LED fixtures will improve lighting quality, with truer color than we have now and less spilled light onto adjoining properties, since light is more directional and focused on the streets.  The American Medical Association recommends the color of LED street lights that Westbrook would install, at 3000 Kelvin, not the 4000 Kelvin (more blue) light found on older fixtures installed years ago in CT cities. New fixtures have less glare. Madison has 3000 Kelvin fixtures and Old Saybrook is currently installing them.
  • Sample fixtures will be installed on a Westbrook street with different colors and light patterns for public feedback before any installation takes place.  Most existing fixtures average 33 years old and cannot be retrofitted with LEDs.
  • If the Town does not purchase its own fixtures, Eversource is scheduled to replace our streetlights with their own choice of LEDs in the next few years, and the delivery (maintenance charge) portion of the bill will actually go up, offsetting savings from lower electricity consumption.
  • As other towns purchase their existing fixtures, the cost for the remaining towns to purchase their fixtures goes up, as Eversource’s costs are spread over fewer towns.
  • Three bids were received, contractors interviewed and the Interview Committee and Energy Committee recommended the best proposal.  Both the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance have reviewed and approved the project and now it will go for a Town Meeting vote on December 11th.
  • Maintenance would be supplied by Siemens under contract, at an annual cost of $3,263 — a fraction of what Eversource is currently charging.
  • Detailed information will be presented at a workshop in the Community Room of the Library at 7:00 p.m. next Tuesday night, December 5th. Handouts and charts will be available and questions will be answered.

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Westbrook Town Energy Committee

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