Westport Gets Lit

Think your electric bill is high? Consider street lights.

The town of Westport pays $250,000 a year to keep those overhead lights on. It’s one of our largest Eversource charges.

Can we do anything about it?

We just did.

Over the past few months, the Public Works Department has been replacing all 1,273 street lights on state and town roads — most of them high-pressure sodium — with photometrically designed LED bulbs.

They focus on the road, without overspreading light into yards and windows. They last 20 years — double the old ones.

The new LED lights focus on the road. (Photo/Katherine Bruan

Thanks to 2 other types of savings, they’ll pay for themselves in just 5 years.

According to Public Works director Peter Ratkiewich, Eversource charges a lower rate for LED bulbs.

And — because street lights are un-metered — the utility estimates their annual cost. LEDs use much less electricity. So in addition to a lower rate, there will also be a lower usage calculation.

The department began installing the bulbs in mid-October. The project is nearly done.

Residential areas get bulbs with lower wattage than the Post Road. All include “smart” controls, meaning the brightness can be adjusted as necessary.

The new light bulb at Taylor Place.

The new lights can also be dimmed — or even shut off — after midnight, if Connecticut changes regulations to allow that.

The new bulbs are less than 3,000 lumens. There’s a slight change in hue from the old ones — but Ratkiewich calls it “hardly noticeable.”

Westporters have noticed some new lights though: Those that replaced burned out bulbs. Eversource had not been diligent about fixing them.

Now — having purchased the LED bulbs from the company — they’re the town’s responsibility.

Other municipalities throughout Connecticut are moving to LED bulbs too.

What a bright idea!

(Hat tip: Sherry Jagerson)

8 responses to “Westport Gets Lit

  1. Just in time to counter Trump’s recent, proclaimed, refusal to enforce the raised standards for incandescent light bulbs.

  2. Dan contacted them when a light went out on Long Lots Rd…fixed it in three days. Pretty impressive, got to say they did a good job.

  3. Another informative and timely post Dan – just last week I was asking my family members if they recalled a streetlight here or there, because the new bulbs are so much brighter and more concentrated on the street that there is an major difference. And until your post, I couldn’t explain the town-wide phenomena. A major performance AND energy improvement!

  4. One downside of the LED lights is that they don’t give off heat to melt the snow/ice on them. We moved out of Westport in 1962 and I don’t recall streetlights on Long Lots Road except for when it merged with the Post Road, then known (on the street signs at least) as East State Street.

  5. Great piece, and great news for the town of Westport! But one minor point of correction: UI definitely offers LED municipal street lighting. In fact, it’s now the standard across most of UI’s territory.

    • Thanks, Ed, and my apologies. I received erroneous information about UI. I have already changed my final line, and removed my reference to you guys!