FULTON, NY – After discussing the possibility to switch to LED street lights for years for the sake of cost savings, National Grid has given city of Fulton officials approval to begin the conversion.
Fulton City Clerk Daniel O’Brien said National Grid gave a tentative start date between November 28 and December 5 to begin converting the first phase of street lights throughout the city.
The first phase will target 413 street lights that primarily occupy the highest wattage as to garner the greatest cost savings.
The city will transition from 400 watt high pressure sodium lights to 210 watt LED lights and 250 watt high pressure sodium lights to 96 watt LEDs in the first phase.
These street lights are located mainly throughout the city’s downtown including parking lots and along the most frequently traveled roads such as both bridges and State Route 481.
City officials were notified of approval from National Grid to participate in incentive programs that cut local shares to a minimal amount.
To start the process, the city must purchase the net book value of the existing features. For the primary 413 street lights, the total amounted to $33,085.
With the current incentives offered, National Grid will provide $32,450 of conversion cost cutting the local share to $635.
After the first phase of conversion, O’Brien estimates an annual cost savings of $21,470.
Cost savings in the first phase are maximized as the city will convert the highest wattage street lights first. However, the city intends to use the money saved on energy cost each year to help in continuing the transition to LED in the next phase until all street lights in the city are converted.
“The conversion cost to the City of only $635 for the 413 streetlights is because they are converting the higher wattage lights to LED in phase 1, therefore receiving the highest possible incentives. Incentives of $50-$100 are provided per light converted, based on the LED wattage converted to, with higher wattage LEDs receiving a higher incentive. That is why Fulton’s incentives for the first phase is so high. Their incentives for future phases will be less on average, since they will be converting the lower wattage lights that are eligible for less incentives per light,” said Amanda Mazzoni, Senior Planner for the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board.
With 1576 total street lights throughout the city, O’Brien anticipates total transition to happen within three years, if not sooner given incentive program rates.
Currently, the city budgets $330,000 per year for the cost of street lights.
“I think a lot of people don’t realize that. They see the lights come on and don’t think anything of it, they don’t realize that of course we have to pay for that,” O’Brien said.
The city of Fulton has experience in transitioning their lighting to extract savings, Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. said.
Currently, all lighting in the Fulton Municipal Building is LED after transitioning from T12 bulbs to T4 bulbs and then finally from T4 bulbs to LED.
Additionally, all traffic lights run on LED lighting as well.
With each transition, the city saw significant cost savings, Woodward said.
City officials are eager to continue the transition with street lights to see ongoing cost savings.