First LED lights installed

A new LED bulb unit is held by ATCO Electric serviceman Randy McPhail before he installs it on a post in Silverwood Crescent on July 25.

Chris Clegg
South Peace News
The first LED lights in High Prairie are now shining bright.

ATCO Electric installed the first three lights July 25 and wants public input regarding their effectiveness.

Amanda Mattern, ATCO’s district manager, told High Prairie town council the news at their July 25 meeting while attending to discuss the franchise agreement. On June 27, she also attended a meeting to discuss LED lighting.

The lights are located on 48 Street on the east side of the Q Skate Plaza, and at 4817-56 Ave. and 4441-54 Ave.

Council is looking for feedback from residents on the lights. Contact council at [780] 523-3388.

Town council is debating whether to immediately convert all lights in town to LED or gradually let ATCO convert the lights as the old ones burn out. Councillor Michael Long first suggested at council’s Nov. 22, 2016 meeting that the town convert all its streetlights to LED.

“The big selling point is reduced costs,” said Mattern June 27.

High Prairie has 374 streetlights. At an estimated cost savings of $2 per light per month, yearly savings would be around $8,976.

Mattern added capital costs to replace all the lights is estimated at about $172,000. Councillor Brian Panasiuk noted it would take over 17 years to pay off the capital cost in savings.

Some communities have converted all lights to LED, others have chosen to let the conversion occur gradually. Mattern says one option to raise the needed cash is to increase the franchise fee, as some communities have done. A franchise fee is what ATCO pays council for the right do business in town; that fee is passed along to the customer in everyone’s monthly power bill.

She adds ATCO Electric has applied to the Alberta Utilities Commission for a bill multiplier to cover the costs of converting invested lights from HPS to LED. In the event the commission approves the multiplier, no upfront contribution will be required and, rather, the LED conversion will be paid for via a monthly bill adjustment on the streetlight bill.

“Is it important for the town to reduce its carbon footprint?” asked Mattern. “You have to decide that.”

Possible grants may also be secured to reduce capital costs.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Councillor Arlen Quartly. “I think it’s where we have to go.”

Councillor Debbie Rose added she liked the idea of reducing the environmental impact.

ATCO can do a complete or partial conversion to LED lights at the town’s request.

Mattern says the LED lights are proving to be popular due to their brightness and their ability to shine directly down to the ground instead of a wider dispersal. LED lights shine less on residential houses and contribute les to light pollution.

ATCO began installing LED lights over five years ago. The first LED pilot was in Jasper in 2011.

“LEDs are a safe, viable option for communities in ATCO Electric’s service territory,” reads a factsheet. “LED technology has evolved, making LED’s a superior option to HPS.”

LED lights can be purchased and provided for any type of outdoor lighting.

ATCO has stopped purchasing HPS heads and is replacing all HPS heads with LED lights.
LED Benefits

* Long-term energy cost savings, improved energy efficiency, less carbon footprint for the community.
* Aesthetics.
* Safety.
* a reduced environmental impact through better lighting and less pollution in the sky at night.
What are LED Lights?
An LED lamp is a light-emitting diode product that is assembled into a lamp [or light bulb] for use in lighting fixtures. LED lamps have a lifespan and electrical efficiency which are several times greater than incandescent lamps, and are significantly more efficient than most fluorescent lamps. The LED lamp market is projected to grow by more than 12-fold over the next decade, from $2 billion in the beginning of 2014 to $25 billion in 2023.
What are HPS Lights
A high pressure sodium-vapor lamp is a gas discharge lamp that uses sodium in an excited state to produce light. There are two varieties of such lamps: low pressure and high pressure. High-pressure sodium lamps produce a broader spectrum of light than the low-pressure lamps, but they still have poorer colour rendering than other types of lamps.

McPhail turns the light on.

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