New-Generation Street Lighting Still Getting No Respect

18. června 2013 v 5:47 |  Led ceiling light
They save money in the long run, will last longer and provide more light. So why do so many people hate the new streetlights Arlington officials insist on installing?

The question was raised again at the June 15 County Board meeting, and even board members themselves acknowledged the contentiousness surrounding the installation of new LED streetlights in place of venerable sodium-vapor lighting.

"We have received complaints from many parts of the county," said County Board Chairman Walter Tejada. "Clearly, adjustments need to be made."

The latest to rebel: Residents of Columbia Heights, whose complaints about the new streetlights were mollified, somewhat, after county staff briefed the local civic association.

Complaints come on many fronts: The lighting is too bright; it has a harsh, cold, white hue (described by some as what you'd expect in prison); and it overpowers curtains and drapes, forcing its way, unwanted, into bedrooms and other interior rooms.
"I understand why folks are unhappy," said County Board member Chris Zimmerman. His Douglas Park neighborhood recently saw the installation of new LED lighting, including a streetlight directly adjacent to his home.

"They do cast kind of an eerie glow," Zimmerman said, adding that the higher intensity is "certainly noticeable in my house."
County Manager Barbara Donnellan, while acknowledging complaints have been widespread, didn't have any solutions directly at hand. She said the technology was "evolving," but also pointed out the positives of the replacement project.

Swapping St. Petersburg's streetlight bulbs to more efficient LED lights would conserve energy and could save taxpayers millions. It is also a good way for the new owner of Progress Energy Florida to show that its community engagement isn't limited to its home state of North Carolina. Duke Energy said Monday that it anticipates offering just such a savings plan, days after City Hall said it has been getting mixed signals. That's a positive sign.

St. Petersburg pays its streetlight bills based on a Tallahassee-approved utility tariff, spending about $4.7 million a year. Changing the city's 30,000 bulbs to LEDs could reduce energy costs by as much as 40 percent, or $1.8 million, City Council chairman Karl Nurse said. But he said last week Duke had been less than receptive to cutting the city's costs.

Duke has allowed the cost-saving switch before, in the Raleigh-Durham area. But the incentive in Florida could be different. The switch to LED lights in St. Petersburg could end up spreading to all of Duke Energy's Florida service area, reducing a reliable stream of income.

The company told the Tampa Bay Times editorial board Monday that it is planning to file a rate reduction with the Florida Public Service Commission this summer regarding LED usage for streetlights. The best news will be when the rate filing passes all savings back to local governments. More information about the program is available on the web site at

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