By Timothy R. Crabb, P.E., Electric Utility Director
In 2009, College Station became the first city in Texas to install an automated street light monitoring system, which helps us quickly identify and repair malfunctions and burned out bulbs.
Now, we’ll be the first with that system to convert entirely to high-efficiency LED (light emitting diode) lighting.
On Wednesday, College Station Utilities will begin upgrading the city’s 5,500 street lights to LED fixtures. The LEDs will reduce our power and maintenance costs while providing better, more reliable lighting. The conversion should be complete by mid-July.
The street lights used in residential neighborhoods will be 3,000 Kelvin fixtures that retain some of the warm glow of our current lights but with better color recognition. Thoroughfare lights will be 4,000 Kelvin fixtures that emit a brighter, cooler white light to enhance security and traffic safety. Our monitoring system also allows us to dim the LEDs.
Since the LED fixtures provide more lighting, our customers may need to allow a month or two to get used to the change.
Replacing thousands of street lights isn’t cheap. The project has a price tag of about $2.56 million, but the money we save from lower maintenance and power expenses means we’ll likely recover the costs in 7-8 years.
Since the new system is expected to last about 30 years, we’ll be reaping the benefits for decades to come.
About the Author
Timothy Crabb is in his fifth year as College Station’s electric utility director and has more than 40 years of electric utility experience. He began his career in the electric utility industry the week after he graduated from Taylor High School in 1977. Timothy earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the UT-Arlington in 1990.
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