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SCE is Putting the LED in Streetlights

A new program helps communities switch to cheaper, cleaner, energy-saving streetlights.
By Mary Ann Milbourn

The city of Covina has been a major advocate for energy efficiency, so when the time came to replace 30-year-old streetlights, it seemed like time to show by doing.

As it turned out, Covina’s timing coincided with a new Southern California Edison program to help cities and counties replace the fixtures on SCE-owned streetlights with LEDs.

It’s a win-win for everybody. It’s an opportunity for savings, to reduce energy use and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

 

John King, SCE  

The light-emitting diode fixtures are brighter and more energy efficient, which make streets safer while providing a cost savings for the city. SCE replaced 3,000 streetlights in Covina with LED fixtures using the LS-1 Option E program.  

“We’re always talking about overall efficiency — the advantages of sustainability and creative ways to be energy efficient,” said City Manager Brian Saeki. “It was our opportunity to showcase what the city stands for.”

SCE began rolling out the LED program in late 2016. Seven cities — Baldwin Park, Covina, Fontana, Laguna Woods, La Palma, Rosemead and Walnut — were the first to receive the new light fixtures. Going forward, SCE plans to replace about 70,000 streetlights with LEDs each year on a first-come, first-served basis.

Under the program, SCE provides a turnkey replacement effort for existing streetlights while continuing to own, maintain and operate the street lights and poles. The initial installation cost of the LEDs is paid back over 20 years through a special rate established for the program. The light fixtures, which are expected to last 12-20 years, will be replaced in the future as needed by SCE as part of its routine streetlight maintenance program.

“The streetlight bill is often a city’s single-largest item on its energy bill,” said John King, an SCE senior project manager who oversees the streetlight program. “Local government officials are seeing immediate savings with these LED fixtures while enjoying vastly improved light quality.”

Covina’s Saeki estimates the city will save about $24,000 a year during the 20 years of the payback and $75,000 a year after that.

In addition to the savings and safety, Saeki said the actual installation only took a couple of weeks with no interruption.

“From a city manager’s point of view, it was quick and painless and had an immediate and positive impact on lighting in our neighborhoods,” he said.

The program also helps SCE meet its commitment to help the state achieve its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” King said. “It’s an opportunity for savings, to reduce energy use and cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

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