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2004 - 2009 By Russell L. Doty

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Updated 12/8/2011
This page is to provide individuals who wish to help cut nighttime energy use and save consumers money. You may be able to promote a more rapid transfer to new LED lighting technology by urging government officials to adopt LEDs. This page will help you do that. Also, see the other pages on the left menu, especially this 3 minute narrated PowerPoint.

A) To be brought up to data as of December 2011 on whether you should replace 60 watt incandescents with LEDs click this link (which will be activated December 15) to read "Tips for a bright – and efficient – Christmas" by Russ Doty and Holly Wilde, an opinion editorial syndicated by Writers on the Range the week of December 12. Consult the Table 1below to see whether the length of time you use a 60 watt incandescent in a given location makes it financially feasible for you to switch to a 9.7 watt LED.

Table 1.
Yearly Savings When Using 9.7 Watt LEDs to Replace 60 Watt Incandescent Bulbs

 

Money Saved Yearly

Hours Lit
Daily

 

@ 9 cents/kWh

 

@ 11 cents/kWh

 

@ 13 cents/kWh

 

@ 15 cents/kWh

  1

$  1.65

$  2.02

$  2.39

$  2.76

  2

$  3.65

$  4.39

$  5.12

$  5.86

  3

$  5.45

$  6.56

$  7.66

$  8.77

  4

$  7.36

$  8.83

$10.30

$11.77

  8

$14.72

$17.65

$20.60

$23.53

12

$21.83

$26.24

$30.64

$35.05

Dollar figures do not include tax credits but do include the energy charge plus the cost of replacing up to 4 traditional bulbs a year.

Table 2. Comparison of Leading LED Bulbs with Incandescents


Manufacturer/
Name

Wattage

Wattage
Being Replaced

Life in Hours

Cost/ bulb*

Color in Kelvin

Lifetime Saving

Warranty in Years

Light output in lumens

Philips LED L-Prize Winner

9.7

60

25,000

**

2727 K
93 CRI

**

**

910

Philips LED ***

12.5

60

25,000 (B)

$24.97

2700 K
80 CRI

$142.50 (A & B)

6

800

GE LED ***

14

60

25,000

**

3000 K
80+ CRI

$129.25 (D)

**

800

Science Lighting/
EcoSmart LED

13

60

25,000

$25.97

4900 K

$199

5

950

 60 watt incandescent

60

 

1000 -1500 (B)

$0.50

Soft White

 

 

840 – 860

* Without utility rebate;          ** No information available; ***Energy Star Compliant
(A) Based on $0.12/kWh;       (B) 4 hrs/day, 7 days/wk;
(C) Based on $0.10/kWh;       (D) Based on $0.11/kWh

1) To read a summary of the progress of LED street lighting as of April 5, 2011, please click this text which will link to an opinion editorial syndicated by Writers on the Range.

2) ENCOURAGE MEMBERSHIP IN THE MUNICIPAL SOLID-STATE STREET LIGHTING CONSORTIUM: Hundreds of towns and public utilities have become members of the Consortium. As of December 2011, many, like NorthWestern Energy and Montana Dakota Utilities and all towns in Montana and the Dakotas, have not. Membership is free and members trade information on their LED experience and link to much useful testing and other information. Other information is also available at industry trade publication websites, http://www.ledsmagazine.com/main , http://newstreetlights.com/ , and http://www.ledcity.org/

3) ESTABLISH AN UNMETERED LED TARIFF: Some utilities do not have rates that allow you to take advantage of the fact that LED street lights use less energy than the conventional (yellow light) high pressure sodium fixtures now in use. CHECK WITH YOUR local utility to see if they have an unmetered tariff for LED street lights. If it does not, urge adoption of an unmetered LED street lighting tariff. To do so contact your local utility and your STATE PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION (sometimes called Public Utilities Commission or Utility Regulatory Commission), rural electric cooperative board, or local government (if you are served by a municipal electric system).

It is not hard to develop an unmetered tariff (i.e., rates) for street lights. Some utilities already have them. See for example Pacific Gas & Electric's (PG&E's) tariff at http://www.pge.com/tariffs/tm2/pdf/ELEC_SCHEDS_LS-2.pdf That tariff sets out the following formula for determining monthly energy charge per lamp: "Monthly energy charges per lamp are calculated using the following formula: (Lamp wattage + ballast wattage) x 4,100 hours/12 months/1000 x streetlight energy rate per kilowatt hour (kWh). Ballast wattage = ballast factor x lamp wattage."

Your utility may require an LED street light and ballast to test. Ask your utility if it will waive the test if the LED lighting manufacturer provides IES files and wattage tests of luminaires done by independent testing laboratories. All reputable LED street light manufacturers will be able to supply the needed data. For example, you can get the needed data for the BetaLED fixtures at http://www.betaled.com/us-en/TechnicalLibrary/TechnicalDocuments/Ledway-streetlights.aspx

If your utility insists on testing for itself, the manufacturer should be able to lend them a luminaire. The test shouldn't take long. Just hook the luminaire to power with a metering device in the loop to verify the rated wattage. To learn more about how to figure electric energy usage see http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/cost.html

4) ESTABLISH UTILITY REBATES FOR LED STREET LIGHTS: Most utility regulatory bodies require electric utilities to give incentives to encourage folks to save energy. These programs are often called "demand side management" programs designed to limit the demand for energy. The programs are justified because it is often cheaper to incentivize conservation than to pay for a new power plant. Ask your utility if it will give a rebate for each streetlight (sometimes called "luminaire") that a town puts in. That will help pay for the new street lights. PG&E offers a rebate to its customers of between $50 and $200 per LED streetlight, depending on the wattage of the luminaire. Read the story on the progress of LED lighting linked at # 1 near the top of this page to see how Foster City, California used these rebates.

5) CHECK FOR TESTED LIGHTS: Your town can use the resources above to check for LEDs that have been tested. If you don't know where to start check out the lights that PG&E has precertified for a rebate

6) PUT NEW, CITY-OWNED, ENERGY EFFICIENT LUMINAIRES ON POLES OWNED BY YOUR UTILITY. Reputable utilities will allow their poles to house new luminaires owned by a city. If the poles and old style luminaires have not yet been fully paid for, there may be a slight charge for pole use until the cost of the poles and existing light fixtures has been defrayed. Some utilities, PG&E included allow cities to use their poles if they sign a contract. For example, PG&E has the following wording at page 15 of its LS-2 tariff linked above:
"13. POLE CONTACT AGREEMENT: Where Customer requests to have a portion or all Customer owned street lighting facilities in contact with PG&Es distribution poles, a Customer-Owned Streetlights PG&E Pole Contact Agreement (Form 79 938) will be required."
Federal law has required utilities to allow the use of their poles.

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