The future of LED streetlights looks bright

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MISC_LED Streetlights_homepage

Streetlights across the OPPD service territory will get a facelift over the next five years. And their new look will mean brighter, longer-lasting fixtures, better efficiency, and monetary savings for the communities they serve.

The streetlight conversion plan came after evaluating three scenarios based on value to customers in terms of environmental impact, customer satisfaction, financial impact and technological advances. It was determined that a five-year conversion to LED in conjunction with lamp replacement would best meet these criteria. Installations are expected to begin late in 2018.

OPPD owns the majority of streetlights in its service territory. The utility has 298 streetlight customers ranging from small towns to the Nebraska Department of Transportation.

MISC_LED Streetlights_by the numbersOver many years of collaborating with streetlight customers, they have come to rely on OPPD to provide expertise, not just in streetlight restoration, but also with knowledge of the latest technologies and design concepts.

“We will continue to have their best interests in mind, build upon our community partnerships and explore all of the opportunity and future potential that LED streetlight technology can bring,” said Steve Fanslau, director Customer Service and Government Infrastructure.

A total of 98,744 streetlights cover the roads and highways of the service territory. By converting the streetlights to LED fixtures, the municipalities that contract with OPPD would see a 25-percent reduction in their overall streetlight costs. This is why:

  • The lifespan of LED streetlights is four times longer than the current high-pressure sodium fixtures in place for most customers – 15 to 20 years compared to five years.
  • Customers will see a 50-percent average reduction in energy usage, which translates to savings for their taxpayers.
  • Increased reliability with fewer streetlight outages.
  • LED fixtures emit a bright, white light compared to the amber tones of current streetlights. This provides better visibility for motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and serves to deter crime.

Beyond cost savings and reliability, when LED lights fail, they dim as opposed to going completely dark.

OPPD LED streetlights
Existing streetlights, left, emit an amber-colored light. LED streetlights emit a brighter, white light that increases visibility for motorists and residents as well as deterring crime.

OPPD expects to see a decrease in streetlight outages once the conversion is complete, which will help reduce maintenance, a large component of the streetlight rate. It will also benefit the environment by reducing waste from materials and fuel.

OPPD LED streetlights
An LED streetlight fixture in a Bellevue neighborhood, one of the pilot areas where the new streetlights are located.

OPPD has already completed an LED pilot project in neighborhoods across the Omaha metro area. They are also in the process of developing a request for proposals from vendors for the LED streetlight fixtures themselves.

Other next steps involve developing a new rate rider for streetlight customers, which will involve community outreach.

Laura King-Homan

About Laura King-Homan

Laura King-Homan is the managing editor of The Wire and a communications specialist at the Omaha Public Power District. She has nearly 20 years of print journalism and design experience, including the Omaha World-Herald.

4 thoughts on “The future of LED streetlights looks bright”

  1. While this is great for energy efficiency, I’d like to ask a question. Do these lights direct the light down onto the streets and sidewalks? One of the issues we have in Omaha is light pollution and this would be the optimal time to reduce it.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      The LED streetlights will emit a more direct light, and the fixtures are designed to only direct light at the roadway. This will result in a reduction of “light trespass.”

      1. That is excellent! If we can get back a fraction of the beauty of the night sky of my childhood I will be very happy!

  2. We have had led lighting in Blair for seven years. We pursued grant money from the stimulus package. The cost was around 250,000 of which the city of Blair furnished around 50 000. Our estimate was we got the money back in about five years.

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