Installed in May, the more than 4,000 LED lights illuminating Columbus streets have saved the city $102,000 in utilities since July, and are expected to save $400,000 in utilities annually, Rudy Watkins of Tennessee-based PATH Company told the city council Tuesday night.
The 4,276 energy-saving lights were installed across the city to replace old fixtures and provide “brighter, clearer” lights above city streets, Mayor Robert Smith told The Dispatch. The construction crew began the process in February and completed the installation in May.
Watkins, who presented pre-installation and post-installation pictures to the council, told The Dispatch the LED lights are more cost-efficient and better distribute the light compared to the old lights.
“They use between 50 to 70 percent less energy than … (those that use) older technology,” he said. “It also does a better job at spreading the light in between the poles evenly compared to the old technology.”
The lights also have a 10-year warranty, he said, and they should last for at least 20 years. If a storm hits Columbus and damages the lights, the cost of repairs will be covered by the city’s insurance, City Attorney Jeff Turnage added.
Prior to the installation, the city had budgeted an annual $515,658 for streetlight utilities, according to Watkins’ presentation. However, between July and September, the city has saved $101,927 in utilities compared to figures from the same months last year, Watkins said. Moving forward, the city may save an annual $400,000 in utilities, he said.
That means the city will likely achieve a net saving of roughly $100,000 each year, Smith said, considering the payment the city has to make each year on a 15-year loan it took out last year for the project. The council voted to borrow the loan of $3.2 million to replace old fixtures and cover the project cost, which is around $3.3 million, he said. The annual payment is almost $300,000.
Smith said he’s glad to see the results of the project so far.
“They are brighter. They are a lot clearer,” he said. “… Most of the citizens, they are really satisfied.”
Yue Stella Yu was previously a reporter for The Dispatch.