March 24, 2019

Dryden, Homer, Cortlandville consider LEDs

Shenandoah Briere/contributing photographer

Cars drive up and down Route 13 in the village of Dryden. The village board is looking at putting LED bulbs in its street lights.

DRYDEN — The village of Dryden may install LED lighting in a project that could save more than $20,000 a year in electricity costs, Mayor Michael Murphy said.

“We’ll be discussing it further, but I feel strongly that it’s the way we should go,” Murphy said. “It seems to be a trend of going to LED street lights because you use less energy.”

Murphy said recently that Casey Mastro, an energy manager for the New York State Power Authority, spoke at a village board meeting Feb. 20, where he noted a projected annual saving of $23,071.

A large portion of municipal budgets go toward street lighting, Mastro said, and within that budget line the highest costs for street lighting comes from facility charges — the cost paid to the utility to maintain or repair the fixtures.

The power authority is looking to get municipalities to buy their lamp posts, then bid collectively to replace the lamps with LED lights to get a better price.

“By owning assets, they can drive the facility charges down considerably,” he said.

The village of Dryden owns four lamp posts, but the the other 190 are owned by New York State Electric and Gas Corp. The cost to buy the fixtures from NYSEG is $110,944 — a portion of the total cost, which ranges between about $183,000 and $217,000. At $23,000 a year, the project would pay for itself in between eight and 9.5 years.

Once the municipality owns the street lights, Mastro said the next step is gathering up enough towns, villages or cities in each county to go in as one bid for the LED work. By doing that the municipalities would be able to lower the cost of work.

In Tompkins County, the village of Dryden and the town and village of Groton are considering working with the power authority. Mastro said he is reaching out to others.

In Cortland County, the village and town of Homer have agreed to move forward with the power authority, and Cortlandville is considering it.

Homer Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe said that the village is going in on a bid with Syracuse. However, Mastro said with more municipalities looking into LED lights in Cortland County he’s not sure if that will change.

McCabe said the village hopes to have the project completed in 2019. The village would be able to save $6,000 per year for the first eight years and then $60,000 a year after that. The project’s total cost was not available.

If Cortlandville switches to LED lights the town’s bill would be cut by 75 percent — saving between $84,000 and $85,000 annually. Cortlandville has 449 wooden poles and 11 decorative ones that National Grid owns. Buying them would cost about $419,000, said town Supervisor Richard Tupper, so the project would pay for itself in about five years. The town had been taking requests for proposals to do the LED switch until Jan. 25.

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