East Providence Public Works initiates street light savings plan

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EAST PROVIDENCE — East Providence will, literally, become a bit darker place starting this month.

The East Providence Public Works Department will be implementing the first phase of the streetlight management program adopted by the Budget Commission.

As a result of the field audit commissioned by the city last year, initially, 1125 excess street lights have been identified for shut off. Special consideration was given to keeping on street lights at intersections, pedestrian crossings, as well as school, and park areas.

For a complete list of lights to be turned off under the program click Streetlight – list of turn offs-1.

East Providence currently spends approximately $750,000 annually for 5,030 streetlights throughout the city. The streetlights are owned and maintained by National Grid. The streetlights are billed on a tariff rate as approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

Each streetlight has a facility and maintenance charge along with an electrical usage charge. Approximately 60% of the cost for each streetlight is attributed to a fixed facility and maintenance charge, whether a light requires service or not. The budget objective has been set at $150,000 savings in the five-year fiscal stability plan for the city, with the emphasis on first removing lights whose location results in exceeding minimum lighting standards.

The list of streetlights will be provided to National Grid for “red-capping” which is the turn-off measure. The lights selected will be identified in the field with a “red-cap” once the power is disconnected. The scheduled “red-capping” program is estimated as follows: Year 1 – 2,350 locations, Year 2 – 1,800 locations, and Year 3 – 970 locations.

Once “red-capped”, the streetlight will remain off for at least one year after which time it will be either be removed permanently to achieve maximum savings or may be turned back on if the savings goal is achieved.

When the program is fully implemented, approximately 1,100 fixtures will be removed permanently, while the rest of the “red-capped” fixtures will be turned back on after savings have been realized to pay for the removal charges from National Grid.

In conjunction with this program, the city will continue to seek other cost-saving options with National Grid including the potential purchase of the streetlights. This option will require an upfront capital expenditure and approval of a special rate tariff from the Public Utilities Commission.

The city would then be liable for the energy component of the streetlight as well as the future maintenance. However, it is anticipated that significant savings could be achieved as the city would no longer be paying the fixed maintenance and facility cost currently charged by National Grid.

A complete list of lights scheduled for shut-off, by street and pole number, has been posted on the city’s website at www.eastprovidenceri.net.

If there are any questions or concerns relative to this program, you may contact the Department of Public Works at 435-7701.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Stephen said:

    Im all for saving money here. When we turned the clocks back my street was pitch black and i have to walk home from the bus stop. I called national grid to tell them that pole light was out a few months ago and they came by and fixed it. It did help my walk home, though I thought what if i get hit out here? So i bought a blinking light so cars will see me. Looks like a pole is going to be out on my walk from home, i think i know what one it is and there is a lot of light coming in from other places. From what i read, it seems like they looked at the situation and decided if it was a good call to turn off which lights. That is better then just turning them off, since that is what i thought was going to happen.
    I hope others are smart to bring a flash light if needed, it would be something if someone got hit by a car at 5pm at night in front of a pole that has no light. You hope people see people walking but with todays kids texting and driving, anything is possible.

  2. Stephen said:

    While on topic maybe National Grid should offer a rebate in general for RI to have cities and towns upgrade the lights. Like Providence Place mall parking lot did. I know that cost money but i never heard of any public lights energy efficient have you?

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