The Pioneer City plans to light a new path toward energy efficiency and cost savings.
City council opened four bids Monday night for a streetlight LED conversion project that will replace 938 streetlights with brighter, more energy-efficient 92-watt LED light fixtures.
A PPL Electric Utilities energy-savings calculator estimated Carbondale would save about $4,635 in electricity costs by switching to LED, City Clerk Michele Bannon said. This year, officials budgeted $90,000 for streetlighting and $30,000 for streetlight maintenance using liquid fuels funds, according to the city’s 2018 budget.
The city is often tasked with replacing its aging high-pressure sodium halogen lights when they burn out, so the longer-lasting LEDs will save Carbondale additional money, Bannon said, adding the sodium bulbs are becoming harder to find.
“They’re not going to have to go out and replace all those lights all of the time,” she said after the meeting. “Maintenance won’t be as steep a cost.”
Carbondale owns its own streetlights, which means city officials have to find the most cost-effective way to install the lights and get the best-quality lighting, Bannon said.
Councilman Thomas Voglino took a lead role in the project after seeing the deterioration of the city’s lights, he said.
“It seemed like we were replacing them quite often,” he said.
LED lights will benefit the city both financially and aesthetically, he said.
To get a sense of how residents would react to LED streetlights, the city installed a handful throughout Carbondale about 18 months ago, Bannon said. Feedback has been positive, with residents enjoying the cleaner, brighter light compared to the orange glow of halogen bulbs, she said.
Although some people have said the lights are too bright, “people tend to like the brightness in their neighborhoods,” Bannon said, explaining that it makes them feel safer and more secure.
The pre-existing LEDs will still be replaced as part of the project, and the bulbs will be used elsewhere in the city to brighten up other public and dimly lit areas, Bannon said.
The winning bidder must also replace the streetlight arms that hold the lights and dispose of the high-pressure sodium bulbs. The company will have 90 days to complete the project after the borough issues a notice to proceed.
The four bids were:
• Denney Electric Supply — $314,631.76
• Wallis Electric — $355,500
• Commonwealth Energy Group — $398,424
• Richard Mellow Corp. — $474,400
Voglino hopes to have the new lights installed by February. Council tabled the vote Monday in order to review the bid and will likely vote during its next meeting, Oct. 15.
“It’s a good accomplishment for the city to keep moving in the right direction,” Voglino said.