Gloversville city finance commissioner shines light on LED street lamp savings

Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Christopher Perry speaks during his report to the Common Council Tuesday night.

Gloversville Department of Public Works Director Christopher Perry speaks during his report to the Common Council Tuesday night.

GLOVERSVILLE – Installation of LED lighting has cut the electricity cost for the city’s streetlamps by more than half, city officials said Tuesday.

During Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting, City Commissioner of Finance Tammie Weiterschan gave the council an update on the status of the savings from the LED project. She told the council the National Grid bills sent to the city for the streetlamp electricity had been going to an unmonitored email account for the last three months, but after that problem was resolved, she got her first look at the new bills reflecting the installation of the LED lights. She was pleased to see the savings.

“On Friday, we began seeing the bills from National Grid for the new lights,” she said. “The initial three months of bills ran anywhere from $7,000 to about $8,000, whereas our old bills from National Grid for our street lighting were anywhere from $18,000 a month to as high as $24,000 to $25,000 per month, so we’re going to see a significant amount of savings from that project.”

City Department of Public Works Director Chris Perry said over the past two years the city has borrowed about $612,000 for the project, which included purchasing the light fixtures and “span arms” for the 1,380 streetlamps in the city from National Grid for $212,000.

“We own those in perpetuity going forward,” he said.

Perry said the city finalized the acquisition of the streetlamp fixtures in January, with National Grid still maintaining ownership of the streetlamp poles.

He said Gloversville then paid about $4000,000 to the Executive Group company, based in Amsterdam, to be the subcontractor tasked with installing the fixtures over the past few months.

“They just finished up [July 21],” Perry said. “Tanko Lighting was basically the project manager for this. They’ve done similar projects like this throughout upstate New York.”

Perry said the electricity bills presented by Weiterschan were for June, before about another 250 LED lights were installed, which means he expects the July electricity bills will be even lower.

“It’s estimated that in the first full-year [of the LED lights being in place] it will save the city somewhere between $130,000 to $150,000, so the project will have somewhere between a four and five-year pay-off period [from the savings],” Perry said. “The LED lights are supposed to last between 12 and 15 years, each fixture. [Conventional streetlamps] last maybe three to four years tops, maybe five if you’re lucky, and they use three times as much energy.”

After Perry announced the completion of the LED project, several members of the council and city department heads cheered. He said the new LED light fixtures come with a 10-year warranty, so the city will not be on the hook for any mechanical failure repair costs over the next decade.
Mayor Vince DeSantis said the savings estimates presented to the council at the start of the LED project appear to be coming true.

“Back two years ago when we started this project, they told us it would be about a 70 to 75 percent reduction in our electric costs for lighting the streets and it looks like that’s going to be the case,” he said. 


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