Three communities move forward on LED streetlights

Three communities move forward on LED streetlights

LINCOLN – Three communities are prepared to go out to bid to upgrade their streetlights to more efficient LEDs.

This week, Lincoln, Smithfield and Woonsocket will put out a request for proposals seeking a company to switch over the lights. The group request originally included three other communities on Aquidneck Island.

Lincoln Town Planner Al Ranaldi said converting the lights to LED will save millions of dollars in electricity costs down the road.

Lincoln currently spends roughly $500,000 lighting its streets.

Part of the conversion process will include purchasing the town’s current lights from National Grid. The town will then hire a company to maintain the lights during the six to nine months it will take to convert the system over.

During that period, the town will have to fix any light that goes out.

The state recently agreed to pay to light state-owned roads, which is expected to result in major savings.

“We’re expecting savings there, plus dramatic savings with the LED lights, which will pay back the asset,” Ranaldi said.

The state will begin paying to light its roads after they’re converted to LED.

“We’re expecting over 50 percent savings in our bill in year one,” Ranaldi said.

Once converted, he said 2 to 3 percent of the lights will fail due to manufacturer defects, “but we can sit back for years after that,” he said. The lights last for roughly 20 to 25 years before they begin to lose their efficiency.

Lincoln will host the advertisement for all three towns. Once Lincoln collects the proposals, Smithfield Town Engineer Kevin Cleary said each town willreview the qualifications and pricing independently.

Cleary said he expects to develop a recommendation to the Town Council in late February or early March. If approved, the contract would roll out in April when work would commence.

Ranaldi said there are a lot of options for LED lights out there, and that technology has advanced significantly since towns in R.I. first began converting to LED.

“Every month there’s new innovation,” he said.

In the future, if there’s an issue with one of the lights, town officials will be able to diagnose the problem from a remote desktop.

“If we want, we could take a light at midnight and dim it down to 60 percent and then bring it up at dusk,” he said.