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City seeks more energy efficient streetlights through partnership with CCM

Meriden Record-Journal, January 4, 2016

By Molly Callahan

MERIDEN — City officials are proposing to purchase all the city’s streetlights to convert them to run more efficiently. The measure would involve the city purchasing 4,267 streetlights and 853 street poles from Eversource Energy and converting them to energy-efficient light-emitting diode, or LED, fixtures. Municipalities across the state have the ability to purchase the posts and lights on public roads from the utility company thanks to a partnership with the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

The organization released a general request for qualifications from companies nationwide that retrofit streetlights to operate more efficiently, said Steve Montemurro, city MIS director. Among those companies chosen by CCM as qualified to do work is the San Francisco, Calif.-based Tanko Lighting Inc., which city staff is recommending do the work locally. Tanko Lighting Inc. and another company specializing in supplying LED fixtures have also already been chosen to do a similar project in Los Angeles County, Calif.

“That gives us the ability to take advantage of competitive pricing,” Montemurro said. The purchase of the streetlights and poles and work to retrofit them would cost $2,522,890, Montemurro said. However, the project would equal an estimated $9.8 million in electricity savings over the next 20 years. Though those savings are impacted by the cost of electricity from year to year, Montemurro said he thought it was “a conservative estimate.” City Councilor Miguel Castro, who chairs the finance committee, said, “When you think about the $9.8 million in electric and maintenance costs we’re saving, that is a tremendous step in a positive direction.

The city spends an enormous amount of money on electricity,” he said. “These are the kinds of things we need to look into, and city staff have brought a level of expertise to be able to point these things out and find a solution.” The city can purchase street poles as long as they’re not on a private road or supporting any connections to other utilities such as cable, Montemurro said. Once they’re purchased, any damage or other maintenance issues would be handled by Tanko, which contracts such maintenance work to companies located nearby, Montemurro said.

“Tanko can provide complete turnkey service,” Montemurro said. The process of purchasing and retrofitting the streetlights and poles “is something a lot of cities and towns are looking into because of the savings involved,” he said. Further, the replacement of the bulbs would take place during the day and shouldn’t have any impact on motorists or neighbors, Montemurro said. The proposal will need approval by the finance subcommittee as well as the full council.

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