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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the community of Ogdensburg, New York
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MED slowly converting to LEDs for streetlights


MASSENA — The Massena Electric Department has installed more than 30 LED streetlights in the village over the past few years, and as the technology becomes more affordable or funding becomes available, it hopes to continue doing so.

MED Deputy Superintendent Dale F. Raymo said 18 of the lights were installed in the Northview neighborhood on Marie, Lawrence and Kathleen streets, with five or six installed on Ober Street and five on Chase Street.

“The feedback we’ve gotten on the light quality and the color is very good,” MED Superintendent Andrew J. McMahon said. “We haven’t had any maintenance issues.”

Mr. Raymo said traditional streetlights, which are lit by high-pressure sodium bulbs, emit a light that’s accompanied by a yellowish haze, while the LED lights emit a clearer, whiter light.

“You’ll definitely notice the difference,” he said.

Mr. McMahon said the LED lights also do a better job of lighting the area they’re supposed to, without “spilling over” into areas that aren’t intended to be lit, such as people’s front yards.

The LED lights use approximately one-third of the energy of a traditional bulb, Mr. Raymo said.

Another benefit is that the MED’s peak usage, which typically comes when streetlights are coming on during the winter, is reduced, meaning the amount of energy the MED must purchase also is reduced. That translates into savings for MED customers.

Mr. McMahon said that two years ago, the fixtures cost $550 apiece. This spring, they were $400 each. However, the lamps for a standard streetlight are approximately $95, meaning there is significant up-front cost for LED lights.

The 18 lights installed this spring were paid for through the ReLeaf program and a grant from Alcoa, Mr. McMahon said.

“We went through, trimmed all the trees and planted some new ones,” Mr. Raymo said. “At the same time, we changed all of the heads.”

Over the 25-year lifespan the MED is expecting from its LED lamps, Mr. McMahon said, the cost is about the same, as traditional bulbs end up being replaced every four years. But as the cost of LED lighting continues to decrease, the prospect of converting more of the system’s 1,200 streetlights looks more and more appealing.

“It’s all about where the technology goes,” Mr. McMahon said. “The cost of the lights has gone down, and we’ve gotten some grants that have helped us do some smaller projects. If the right grant comes along, I could envision us moving to the LED lights pretty quickly based on our experience and the feedback from customers.”

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