City looking for a brighter future with new LED lights

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By CRAIG MURPHY
Of the Keizertimes

More efficient lights could be coming soon to Keizer.

At Monday’s Keizer City Council meeting, the idea of Portland General Electric (PGE) converting existing street lights over to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights throughout the city was brought up.

City attorney Shannon Johnson said most street lights and poles in Keizer are either Option A or Option B. In Option A, PGE owns and maintains the lights while in Option B the city owns the lights but PGE maintains them. There is also Option C, in which the city owns and maintains lights, but most lights are under the first two options.

“This conversion only applies to Options A and B,” Johnson said. “PGE indicates the LEDs are more cost effective and sustainable and use a lot less energy. There don’t appear to be any downsides to the city and ratepayers.”

Melissa Swenson, PGE project manager, noted her company has installed 25,000 LED lights in the past year. PGE staff first met with city staff in November.

“The second option is to transfer Option B fixtures to PGE, then we’d put in poles,” Swenson said. “Poles that are metal last a long time.”

Councilor Cathy Clark liked the overall idea of power conservation.

“I love the idea of switching to LEDs to save power,” Clark said. “My question is what is in it for PGE to own the poles?”

Swenson said there was a simple explanation.

“It is the core of our business,” she said.

Swenson pointed to a key advantage to the new lights and poles.

“There is reduced maintenance,” she said. “Right now we’re looking at lights and poles every five years. These lights are expected to last 20 years. There is no upfront cost to the city.”

Councilors unanimously approved a motion directing staff to come up with a resolution for the next council meeting on May 5 for the conversion of street lights. PGE would acquire Keizer’s Option B fixtures, convert Option A and B lights to LED lights and replace Option B poles with Option A poles at the end of their lives.

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