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.
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 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)