NB Power's switch to LED street lights criticized
NB Power will replace 22,000 street lights with new LED bulbs by the end of 2013
NB Power’s move to LED street lights is designed to save money and reduce the utility’s carbon footprint, but some citizens are complaining about the quality of light.
The Crown corporation is in the process of replacing 72,000 street lights around New Brunswick, an overall project that is expected to cost $30 million.
Riverview was one of the first communities to have its street lights replaced with the new, more efficient LED units.
Pat Gallant, a Riverview resident, has not been impressed with the new lights.
"They're very dim," Gallant said.
"I'd like a lighter brighter street. I walk back and forth in the mornings at 6 a.m. It's dark and I like security."
There have been more than 17,000 street lights replaced so far this year and NB Power expects 22,000 to be replaced by the end of 2013.
Along with Riverview, the new lights will be installed in Miramichi, Grand Falls, Fredericton, Dieppe, St. Stephen, St. George, St. Andrews, Shediac and Moncton this year. The lights will also be added between Kedgwick and Charlo as well as Grand Manan and Campobello Island in 2013.
The company wants to reduce energy bills for municipalities and lower maintenance costs.
The LED, or light-emitting diode lights also have a lifespan of 20 years compared to the old high pressure sodium lights that had to be replaced every six years.
NB Power says there are also significant environmental savings that come along with the new lights.
The LED lights use 50 to 60 per cent less energy compared to the traditional street lights.
The utility says the new lights will save roughly 27 million kilowatt hours each year, which is the amount of electricity needed to power 1,600 homes per year.
This street light conversion program will also reduce NB Power’s greenhouse gas emissions by 324,000 tonnes over 20 years.
Despite the advantages of switching to the new street lights, NB Power acknowledges it's getting some negative feedback over the LED lights from people in communities where they have already been installed.
Jill Doucett, a director with NB Power, said the utility is working to educate residents about the change.
"People may see a change because of the span of where the lights go is different than the high pressure sodium. The light is brighter, more efficient and more direct," she said.