Switch to LED streetlights underway

DARYL K. TABOR / Times Leader

Matt Hoard, a transmission foreman with Princeton Electric Plant Board, changes out a street light to a new LED fixture at the corner of Hopkinsville and Cadiz streets. The work is part of an overall project to upgrade more than 1,200 lights in the city.

An extensive upgrade of streetlights in Princeton to safer, more efficient LED lamps is underway.

The swapout began last week, with a Princeton Electric Plant Board team taking advantage of mild early January weather to change out coventional fixtures to the modern light emitting diode, or LED, systems. Plant Board General Manager Kevin Kizzee said the swtich to LED is common sense for the city.

The new lighting is more efficient, and anticipated to save the city as much as $72,000 annually across the 1,200-plus fixtures that will be swapped out. While more expensive per unit versus conventional high-pressure sodium or mercury vapor lights, LEDs use less energy to produce illumination and their longer lifespan saves on labor to replace them over time. An LED will typically last 20-30 years, said Kizzee, versus a max of 8-10 years or as little as a few months for conventional lights.

Over their lifespan, the LEDs should save the city a significant amount of money.

"They also provide a higher level of illumination," Kizzee said, comparing LED's white light to the yellow hue given off by most conventional lamps that tends to fade over time.

The greater foot candles of light offer added security and safety against crime and accidents under the night skies.

Kizzee said the replacement of overhead lights on utility poles should be complete in six to eight weeks. A second phase, changing out lights powered by underground wiring, will likely take the same amount of time, he said.