Charlottetown moving from standard light bulbs to less expensive LEDs

Dave Stewart
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FILE PHOTO: Kim Griffin, Maritime Electric, left, and Coun. Terry Bernard, chairman of public works, demonstrate the energy efficient LED lights the City of Charlottetown will be using to replace the old high-pressure sodium street lights in the city.

Working in conjunction with Maritime Electric to switch street lights, traffic signals

P.E.I.'s capital city might seem a little brighter than usual soon.

The City of Charlottetown, working in conjunction with Maritime Electric, has begun switching street lights and traffic signals from the standard high-pressure sodium lights to LEDs.

Counc. Terry Bernard, chairman of the public works committee, says LEDs are less expensive and use less electricity.

"We're going to be making the streets brighter and safer,'' Bernard said.

Currently, the city spends about $1.1 million per year on electricity. Once all the lights are changed, Bernard said the city estimates it will save taxpayers 30 per cent on its light bill.

"This is a project that we're looking at completing in five years (although) we're still negotiating with Maritime Electric on that.''

On streets with higher volumes of traffic, such as University Avenue and Queen Street, the city will be going with 72-watt LEDs which give off the light equivalent of a 150-watt standard bulb.

High volume intersections have traditionally carried 150-watt bulbs. They'll be switching to a 100-watt LED, which gives off light similar to a 250-watt standard bulb.

Residential streets will go from standard 70-watt bulbs to 50-watt LEDs, providing light that a normal 100-watt bulb would provide.

When The Guardian tweeted about the new LED lights during the council meeting on Monday, some tweeters responded that LEDs don't create enough heat in winter to melt the snow that sticks to them.

Bernard acknowledged snow and ice might stick to some lights longer than before.

"With the street lights it won't be a problem. They're pointing down. Snow lands on them so it doesn't affect them at all. Problem areas will be older lights which have a bigger shade beak.''

In some ways, the process of switching over to LEDs has been underway for a while. The city has been replacing burned out bulbs with LEDs and any new street lamps that have recently been put up have been fitted with an LED.

And, the LEDs were tested over the course of about a year on streets like Maple Avenue. The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission asked the city to test the system first before it would set a rental rate for the Island utility.

LED lights are known for their lifespan. They can last for 50,000 hours with some staying lit past 100,000 hours if they're well encapsulated. The lifetime of the high-pressure sodium lights can range from 2,000 to 20,000 hours.

Organizations: Maritime Electric, Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission

Geographic location: Charlottetown, P.E.I., Queen Street Maple Avenue Iceland

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Recent comments

    September 17, 2015 - 14:38

    I do not live in Charlettotown, but the street light at the end of my driveway in the town I live in has been changed to the new LED, and I do not like it at all. I understand that it saves power but the new light, lights up the whole front of my house and yard, it is so much brighter and it is hard to sleep with a bright led light shining in my eyeballs at night. I wish we had the old orange one back!!

  • Townie
    September 17, 2015 - 07:15

    I recently moved to Charlottetown and was going to complain about the old sodium light that was almost directly pointing into my bedroom. A few days later it was changed to LED. Now I don't need a lead lined curtain to block out the light.

  • always behind the times
    September 16, 2015 - 19:16

    Amherst, NS switched the ENTIRE TOWN almost 5 YEARS AGO. And Nova Scotia's government passed a law that forced municipalities to switch to LED street lights before 2018. Good old stupid PEI, always always always playing catch up. We will never be a real province with the mentality of our civic leaders. If there was any place in North America that should have switched to LED 20 years ago, it was PEI with the highest power rates on the continent. But no leadership, so no change....

    • Well
      September 17, 2015 - 04:54

      In 3 years there will be elections. Will we see your name on the ballot or will you stilll be crying online rather then trying to change things you Feel are stupid?