By Katherine R. Dougan
With a unanimous vote on July 20, the Board of Aldermen voted to negotiate an agreement with Entergy to retrofit the city’s 1,800 street lights to high-efficiency LED lights. Not only is Entergy doing the retrofit at no cost to the city, but also the LED lights will lower the cost of lighting the city’s streets, said Mayor Phil Fisher.
The changes will transform the street lighting from the older technology of high-pressure sodium vapor that emits an orange glow to the newer LED lights, which provide a whiter, brighter emission, use less energy and provide a clearer lighting experience. LEDs are also brighter than traditional HPS bulbs, which will provide an enhanced level of safety for pedestrians and motorists.
“Numerous municipalities throughout Entergy Mississippi’s forty-five-county service area have converted a portion of the street lights to LED or are in the process of doing so, including Clinton’s neighboring cities of Vicksburg and Jackson,” Robbie Kemp, regional customer service manager for Entergy Mississippi said. “There are numerous benefits to doing so; not only do they provide energy efficient lighting, but also LEDs have a longer burn life.”
“Consistent LED lighting across the city also adds to the overall beautification aesthetic in our neighborhoods and thoroughfares,” said Fisher. “This partnership with Entergy will save the city thousands of dollars while also helping to protect our city.”
Each fixture costs $32 per light but results in a savings of up to $5 per light each month. Due to the negotiated agreement, Entergy will not charge the City of Clinton the $32 swap-out fee, which Fisher said will save the City an initial $58,770.
Entergy is currently in the design and engineering part of phase one, which will cover retrofitting all street lights in Ward 6, Fisher explained. Once installation of lights begins in Ward 6, Entergy will begin the design and engineering of phase two, which will cover Ward 4, with the remaining retrofitted in the order of Ward 3, Ward 1, Ward 5 and Ward 2. The project will take approximately one year to complete.
Ward 2 Alderman Jim Martin raised a question about the order of the lights being retrofitted in the city.
“I know somebody’s got to be first and somebody’s got to be last, but I was just kind of wondering how that phase order got decided on.”
“We went from east to west, with the location of Jackson the chief consideration,” Fisher responded, adding that they moved the route for retrofitting lights into kind of a circular motion, he said, demonstrating a circular motion with his hands.
Taken into consideration was not only the proximity to Jackson, but also retrofitting the older, more densely populated neighborhoods and security considerations.
“The difference in the lighting provided by the new LED bulbs is very significant. A number of the new LED bulbs have been placed in several locations around the city, which show the result,” Martin commented. “Focusing on this project and having complete citywide coverage greatly improves safety for drivers, homeowners and businesses.”
Regarding the scheduled order for retrofitting lights in the city, Martin said: “I was disappointed that the Mayor directed Entergy on the areas scheduled for the conversion without any input from Alderpersons. However, the project is scheduled to be completed in a year, barring weather issues.”
City officials are also evaluating other areas in the city that may need additional lighting and/or upgraded lighting. Board members suggested at the July 6 meeting that the City consider adding additional lighting in the City’s parks.