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Streetlight Upgrades Offer Substantial Savings January 22, 2021

For many of us, the new year is the traditional time to reflect and resolve to change or improve how we live our lives. If we want to change or achieve something in life, setting a resolution or goal is an important first step. Setting goals helps both individuals and organizations to focus efforts on what is important and what needs to be achieved over time.

Every two years, the City Council undergoes a goal setting process. One of our current goals is to undertake an evaluation of upgrading the existing streetlight infrastructure in the City to LED. A little over a year ago the City engaged the services of AMERESCO to undertake the desired feasibility study. The assessment revealed the annual cost to operate the nearly 1,200 streetlights within the City was $200,414. The cost to keep the streetlights on at night is paid out of the City’s allotment of state gas tax revenues. It is our hope that we can reduce the annual costs over time and that the savings can be used for street maintenance. 

The estimated savings, if those lights were upgraded to LED technology, is $100,000 annually, which is substantial. However, the cost to update the streetlight infrastructure to LED is also substantial. The conversion is estimated to cost $762,827.  

I am happy to report that the Council approved a plan this week to finance the needed upgrade to the street light infrastructure. We will pay the debt service from the savings on future power bills. Once the debt is repaid, we can use the savings to undertake additional street maintenance projects.

The benefits anticipated is not limited to the cost savings and or additional future resources needed for street maintenance. The LED technology and new fixtures will be “Dark Sky” compliant (meaning that they minimize glare while reducing light trespass and sky glow). The annual energy savings in total kilowatt-hours (KHW) is estimated to be 734,146 (enough power to power over 60 homes for a year).

It is good to have goals and even better when those goals are accomplished!  

-Joe Benetti, Mayor of Coos Bay