Nova Scotia

Halifax mulls changeover to LED street lights

Nova Scotia's largest municipality is trying to find the cheapest way to switch to energy efficient street lighting.
Under the amended Energy-efficient Appliances Act, all street lights owned by municipalities across the province will have to be changed to LED street lights over the next five years. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's largest municipality is trying to find the cheapest way to switch to energy efficient street lighting.

Last month, Energy Minister Charlie Parker introduced an amendment to the province's Energy-efficient Appliances Act, which authorizes regulations restricting or prohibiting the use of appliances that do not meet the prescribed efficiency standard.

Under the amended act, all street lights owned by municipalities across the province will have to be changed to LED street lights over the next five years.

While the Halifax Regional Municipality has already converted 2,400 or about 16 per cent of its lights to LED fixtures, there are still thousands more to go to meet the target.

"We figure if we need to change all of our 15,000 HRM lights, which are primarily situated in peninsular Halifax, that could cost upwards of $11 million over the next five years," said Coun. Peter Lund, the chair of the Environment and Sustainability Standing Committee.

"Over that period of time, we would probably save around $500,000."

There are approximately 140,000 street lights in Nova Scotia and about 10 per cent of those light fixtures are owned by municipalities. The cost to switch those fixtures to LED lights is expected to be about $100 million, with the eventual savings being about $18 million per year.

In addition to the 15,000 lights owned by the Halifax Regional Municipality, about 25,000 street lights in the suburban and rural areas of the municipality are owned by Nova Scotia Power and leased by the city.

Lund said the question for the city is whether it would be cheaper in the long run to buy the Nova Scotia Power lights or if any savings would be eaten up by the cost of maintaining lights in outlying areas.

"We want to look at what are the true maintenance costs as well, because that could be a significant contributing factor as to whether or not it'll be justifiable. So obviously we want to go down the road that's most beneficial to the taxpayers," he told CBC News.

"Whatever saves money for the taxpayer in the short and long term, that's where we should be going."

If the Halifax Regional Municipality decides to buy those lights currently owned by Nova Scotia Power, the total bill for Halifax's LED switchover could grow to $35 million.

A new report says the city won't be able to answer such financial questions until the fall, after a power rate hearing that will set a price for LED lighting.

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