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Council mulls ATCO streetlight upgrades

The movement to switch off Jasper's old HPS bulbs to new LED ones started four years ago.
Jasper has seen some LED streetlights for four years, and more are possibly on the way if council approves them.

More changes are coming to the way Jasperites see in the dark if municipal council approves ATCO’s proposed streetlight upgrades.

ATCO representatives Tanya Fillion, Bill Friesen and Sean Hynes were at Tuesday’s regular council meeting with a presentation that included spreadsheets of costs and benefits to further change over more higher-watt, high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs with lower-watt, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs.

Fillion said the capital cost for the effort would be deferred.

“There will be no requirement to pay upfront. The cost for all of the conversions will be recouped through the multiplier rate.”

The Alberta Utilities Commission previously approved a multiplier rate for the conversion of HPS to LED.

It provides an opportunity for municipalities to complete a full-scale conversion of streetlights to LED technology without putting forward large capital costs.

It essentially means that a municipality could make an immediate and extensive upgrade to LED streetlights with the costs and savings incorporated into the municipality’s bill once the retrofit has completed.

It has been four years since ATCO’s streetlight project first moved forward. The effort is a move to save money on energy costs (due to lower energy consumption) while also reducing maintenance costs, increasing light fixture lifespan and still providing equal or better lighting quality.

ATCO’s proposal included the conversion of 110 HPS lights with 100W bulbs to 38W LED lights that would bring an annual savings of $4,001.51.

An additional 76 HPS lights with 150W bulbs could be converted to 73W LED lights with an annual savings of $4,016.94, for a total annual savings of $8,018.45.

The presentation also included four styles of street pole lighting that ranged in price from $1,293.75 per unit to $2,186.43 per unit.

“I recognize that there is an economic savings to be had here, but there are other environmental savings to be achieved potentially,” said Mayor Richard Ireland.

“We are impacting our environment, and the dark-sky-compliant lighting is another aspect of an environmental reason to do this.”

Council moved to receive the information and direct administration to return to a future committee of the whole meeting with recommendations on converting more of the municipality’s streetlights to LED and possibly adding decorative fixtures to some street poles.

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