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Middlefield town boards are in the approval stages of a new streetlight contract with Tanko Lighting which would replace all town streetlights with L.E.D. ones.
During its June 18 meeting, the Board of Selectmen voted to recommend the Board of Finance approve $232,379 in funding for the lighting replacement project.
The contract includes a rebate from Eversource of about $41,000, resulting in a net project cost of $191,139.
The Board of Finance is scheduled to meet on Thursday, July 11, at 7 p.m. If the board approves the funding, action would go back to the Board of Selectmen to set a Special Town Meeting during which residents would have the final say.
First Selectman Ed Bailey said he anticipates the town meeting would happen before the end of July and if approved, the installation would be completed near the end of September.
L.E.D. lights are a light-emitting diode that are energy efficient, durable and shockproof compared to glass bulb lamp types, according to the Edison Tech Center.
“They are brighter, it's a different kind of light. The light's going to be more focused, we're no longer going to be lighting on people's yards and the atmosphere,” Bailey said during the board meeting.
Using the L.E.D. lights would mean the town’s roughly 350 lights would see a reduction in CO2 emissions of about 54,000 pounds. The current lights emit around 78,700 pounds. Estimates for the new lights land around 24,700 pounds annually.
Bailey said there are many motivations for the L.E.D. project, including the reduction of harmful emissions and lower energy costs. Also, by having all new streetlights, he said the town is assured of uninterrupted service for a long time.
A year after installation, Tanko Lighting estimates energy usage will be reduced by 103,102 kWh, from about 150,000 to 47,000 kWh. This is estimated to save about $45,000 in energy usage costs annually.
The current high pressure sodium street lights are maintained by Eversource. Bailey said they use roughly 75 percent more energy than the L.E.D. lights will.
To replace the lights requires the town to acquire them first, at a cost of about $124,000. The contract with Tanko Lighting would be for a year, and the town could decide to go with another company after that. A bid process was not required since the contract is through the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.
Bailey said Eversource offers a program to replace the lights with L.E.D. ones, but at a greater price. He also said the company has not always been reliable servicing the lights in the past.
One of Bailey’s main concerns about the project was that the town will be responsible for maintaining the streetlights moving forward. It was determined that an outside contractor will be hired to take care of maintenance and compensation and materials have been budgeted for.
Board of Selectmen members Dave Burgess and Bob Yamartino were in support of moving forward with the contract.
This project would not affect the streetlights on state-owned roads like Route 66, many of which have already been switched to L.E.D. by the state.