City of Charlottetown installing 'green' street lights

City to begin replacing street lights with energy efficient LED versions

Dave Stewart
Published on March 12, 2014

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.

©Guardian photo by Brian McInnis

When it comes to streets lights, Charlottetown is going green.

The public works department will be meeting with Maritime Electric on Friday to begin a process of changing old high-pressure sodium street lights with more energy efficient LEDs, a change that will reduce the capital city's light bill by at least 30 per cent, likely more.

The announcement comes after more than a year of testing the LEDs on streets like Maple Avenue. The Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission had asked the city to test the system first before having IRAC set a fair rental rate for Maritime Electric.

"Now that it's approved we can start the process of starting to transform from the high (pressure) sodium lights to the LED lights,'' said Cou. Terry Bernard, chairman of public works. "There is quite a difference. The LED is a collection of small lights and the other one is a single, large, high-wattage light.''

One of the reasons for Friday's meeting is to decide what streets will be getting the LEDs first.

IRAC has set the rental rate that Maritime Electric can charge to the city for using these LED lights, a rate that takes into consideration the cost of the units, the poles, maintenance and repairs.

Right now, the city is paying $35.23 per month for one 250-watt, high-sodium light. To get an LED that matches that wattage, it will now cost the city $14.77 per month.

For the 70 watt, high-sodium lights the city currently uses, the charge is $14.28 per month. The LED replacement will be $11.03 per month.

Bernard said while Friday's meeting will help determine where they'll start replacing the old with the new, eventually all the old lights will be replaced with energy efficient lights.

It should be noted that LEDs will be used where any new street lamps are put in place and will be installed in any new subdivisions.

"It's going to save the city money but it will take some time to replace all the city lights. We're going to sit down with them on Friday and put a plan in place of where we start and how long it's going to take to get it completed.''

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