By Paul Myers @PaulM_SGN
EXETER – According to current Exeter city manager Randy Groom residents often bring up the need for more streetlights around town. Groom says that streetlights are prohibitively expensive, but hopefully with Southern California Edison’s (SCE) light conversion program, things are going to get brighter regardless.
“We get a lot of calls requesting that we add more lights, but that’s not something cities do anymore,” Groom said. “But hopefully by converting to much better lights you get more light without adding any poles.”
According to a public works report, the cost of the initial conversion will be about $320 per fixture for a total of approximately $162,560. Because the city pays their electricity bill to SCE, there is a cost recovery mechanism that would be built into their new rate after installation. The increase cost recovery though is far less than the amount that the City will save with the new LED lights. As a result the City’s new rate will in fact save them about $1,700 per year for the 20 years it takes to pay back SCE. After the 20 year repayment period the City would see an annual estimated savings of $9,916.16.
“I’m personally pretty excited about this project. If you look around the city a lot of our street lights you see any variation of colors. There’s white lights, there’s yellow lights,” said public works director Daymon Qualls.
Conversion is estimated to take four weeks within the first quarter of 2018. Several other cities in the area have signed on to the program as well, including Visalia. And there may be more savings to be had. There currently is an energy efficiency incentive that would be applicable and may be available to the City as well which averages about $70 per light replaced. But according to the public works report that program is questionable to continue in 2018 and it cannot be applied for until after installation is complete.