Southold Town could switch to LED street lighting

Southold officials are considering converting the town’s 1,500 street lights, most of which still use outdated mercury vapor bulbs, to LED and induction technology.

Michael Betsch of GreenTech Energy Services presented a proposal to convert the streetlights at the Town Board’s Tuesday work session.

He said the complete retrofit would cost between $700,000 and $800,000, but would result in a 65 percent energy savings.

Currently, he said, the town spends about $139,000 annually on streetlight energy.

Mr. Betsch said the project could be financed over five, seven, 10 or 15 years, enabling the town to have positive cash flow every year from the energy savings. The new lights would also require less maintenance, he added, because they last much longer than conventional bulbs.

Supervisor Scott Russell said he’s not sure if LIPA is charging the town based on the true cost of providing the electricity, and he’s concerned that, even with more efficient lighting, the town might not realize the entire cost savings.

Mr. Betsch said his firm could work that out with LIPA.

The board agreed to ask town attorney Martin Finnegan to draft a request for proposals for the project.

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