Consumers Energy is now offering utility owned and maintained LED technology as an option to villages, towns and cities to illuminate their streets and downtown areas.
Light emitting diode (LED) streetlights were not offered in previous years because there were no reliable suppliers available for the fixtures or parts, and there was no rate approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission available to charge customers for the emerging technology.
Those two main hurdles have been cleared. Several major companies are now producing high quality LED streetlights. And enough research has been done in electric consumption and maintaining the streetlights to get an approved monthly customer rate.
Initial costs for LED streetlights are higher than other types of streetlights but some consider the white light they provide to be more desirable than the yellow-hued light from other streetlight options such as high-pressure sodium. The amount of energy to power LED streetlights is similar to the amount of energy used by high-pressure sodium streetlights.
It’s estimated LED streetlights will incur less maintenance costs in the first 10 years of operation than other streetlight types because the LED bulbs have a longer life span. However, maintenance costs for LED streetlights may rise above other types of streetlights after the first 10 years. That’s because the whole fixture, not just the bulbs as with other types of streetlights, needs to be replaced when the LED lights start to fail.
Streetlight options available to local municipalities for utility-owned streetlights now include high-pressure sodium, metal halide, and LED.
A federal law bans the production and importation of mercury vapor streetlights, and Consumers Energy has a plan in place to phase out those streetlights with non-mercury fixtures in our electric service territory. Communities may want to consider the new LED streetlight technology when switching out mercury vapor fixtures or when planning new streetlight projects.
Contact Consumers Energy at 1-800-477-5050 for guidance on the choice of streetlight options that would work best in your community.
— Terry DeDoes