Streetlights’ ‘Takeover’ Promises a Brighter Future for Gloucester

By Matt Coogan, Senior Planner

The City’s future is a little brighter this week thanks to an agreement with National Grid where Gloucester will purchase approximately 2,800 street lights from the utility company for $1.00.

According to National Grid estimates, the transaction will reduce annual maintenance and service expenses by at least $200,000. It will also reduce the community’s carbon footprint through the conversion of street lights to energy-efficient LED technology—an effort that will eliminate more than 1 million pounds of annual CO2 emission.

The street lights program is part of Gloucester’s Green Community initiative and supported by the City’s Clean Energy Commission. The buyback is being managed collaboratively by the Department of Public Works and the Community Development Department. Other assistance was provided by Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which is advising communities across Massachusetts with the logistics of streetlight acquisition from electric utility companies.

Under the new arrangement, Siemens will serve as maintenance contractor for streetlights. Outages or other issues should be reported to Siemens directly through a 24 hour hotline: 1-800-LIGHTS-ON.

The City plans on converting to LED lighting technology once the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) formally approves the street light transfer and funding is in place. LED technology, which produces higher quality light, increases visibility for drivers and pedestrians and delivers energy efficiency, has been the subject of recent international buzz after three physicists won the Nobel Prize for Physics as the result of improving LED technology.

In terms of the City’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, the switch to LED will eliminate the equivalent of CO2 that is generated by 100 cars or 43 homes each year.

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