Mayor Mike McGinn highlighted Seattle City Light’s work Monday night to help support public safety with its switch to Light Emitting Diode (LED) streetlights and operational improvements that have eliminated a backlog of service orders for burned out streetlights.
“Streetlighting is an important service during Seattle’s long winter nights,” McGinn said. “The new LED streetlights that City Light is installing make it easier to see and don’t distort colors. That makes our city’s neighborhoods safer for drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and residents.”
Seattle City Light has installed 31,000 LED streetlights in residential neighborhoods throughout its service territory. The utility expects to install the remaining 10,000 residential streetlights by the end of 2013 and is preparing to convert streetlights on arterial roads next.
In the Central District-West Madrona area, residents credit the recent installation of LED streetlights with enhancing their sense of security and quality of life.
“We have a great neighborhood and we want to go out and walk around and still feel safe at the same time,” resident Liz Holohan said. “It makes a huge difference. These are all things that make it easier to go out. It makes it easier to see what’s going on in your neighborhood. It makes it easier to feel connected. It makes you feel safer.”
The new lights use about 60 percent less electricity compared to the high-pressure sodium lights they are replacing and last at least three times longer. As a result, the city and the suburban communities City Light serves already are saving about $1.5 million a year on energy costs. That savings is expected to reach $3 million per year when all the residential lights are installed.
(Watch the Seattle Channel’s coverage of Monday’s announcement here and Q13’s coverage of Monday’s announcement here: Streetlights event KZJO. Mayor McGinn discusses how the money saved by using LED streetlights is helping to pay for other community safety improvements during this question and answer session.)
“Additionally, the utility has used a schedule of planned replacements and other operational improvements to eliminate a backlog of service orders for burned out streetlights that had reached nearly 4,300 lights in 2009,” McGinn said. “Making sure the streetlights stay on has a direct, positive impact on public safety.”
With the planned replacement approach, City Light installs new lamps or LEDs before the old ones are expected to burn out. The utility also streamlined its streetlight outage reporting process, created a reporting form for mobile phones and added an online tracking map for repairs that allow customers to follow when streetlights will be back in service.
“Better technology and better operations mean Seattle City Light is consistently meeting its goal of making basic repairs to streetlights within two weeks of a reported outage,” City Light Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “We know how important streetlighting is and we are committed to providing efficient, high quality, reliable service to our customers.”