MERIDEN — Workers are replacing the sodium bulbs in over 4,200 streetlights with LED bulbs that are expected to save the city $9 million over the next two decades.
“It’s going to have huge long-term economic benefits to the city in that the savings are quite considerable,” said City Manager Guy Scaife.
The $2.5 million project consists of buying the LED bulbs from Eversource Energy and replacing the lights on all city-owned utility poles, said Stephen Montemurro, the city information technology director.
Installation began Nov. 7 and is expected to be nearly complete by the end of the year, with some work continuing into early January. Crews from Red Thread were seen Monday in the area of Forest Avenue in South Meriden, replacing lights pole by pole.
The LED bulbs last 120,000 hours, or roughly 20 years, Montemurro said. High-pressure sodium bulbs typically last two or three years.
The city paid $1.07 million to purchase the 4,267 lights from Eversource and is paying a contractor $1.3 million to install them. The installation process takes about 10 minutes per utility pole and consists of unscrewing the existing light bulb and replacing it with an LED light.
The city has already begun to realize savings just through the purchase of the lights, Montemurro said. The city paid $63,292 to power streetlights in October 2015, while the cost dropped to $32,550 for October 2016, a 49 percent decrease.
“When the city purchased their own street lights (Eversource’s) rates changed,” Montemurro said. “There’s an immediate savings just from purchasing your own lights. Of course we have to assume the maintenance on those lights as well.”
Savings are expected to increase even more after all the lights are installed, as the LEDs use less energy. Montemurro estimated the city will pay about 68 percent less to power its streetlights than before the LED conversion.
The city is expected to save $300,000 by the end of the fiscal year, and about $550,000 a year after that. However, the first five years of savings will go toward paying for $2.5 million capital cost of the project. The 20-year savings is projected to be about $9 million, Montemurro said.
“We’re saving a lot of money, we’re reducing our energy costs and in a way you are improving public safety because you have better lighting, it lasts longer and there is less maintenance involved,” Montemurro said. “There’s a whole lot of positives to it besides the money alone.”
Scaife said the next step will be replacing lights in all municipal buildings with LEDs. The Meriden Public Library recently completed updating its lights, Scaife said.
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