Illuminating the Possibility of LED

A future initiative from Central Hudson Gas & Electric may allow New Paltz to install LED streetlights.

A future initiative from Central Hudson Gas & Electric may allow New Paltz to implement light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights.

According to Village Mayor Terry Dungan, if the pricing structure – or warrants – of LEDs are reduced, New Paltz could be one of many local municipalities to install the new street lamps.

“I would like to see it happen,” Dungan said. “LEDs use much less electricity and they last longer. We’ll just have to see when they get the warrants out – and when they have the equipment available – what the charge is for having it on the pole as well.”

In order for Central Hudson to prepare warrants for LEDs, Dungan said, the company would need to determine a uniform standard to measure illumination and power consumption.

Dungan said a past program allowed the village to replace old mercury vapor lights with new sodium vapor bulbs for free, and hopes Central Hudson’s newest initiative will provide an equivalent deal.

“If they do get everything in place for LED lighting, I would hope that they would have a similar replacement program so you could start transitioning from your sodium to LED,” he said.

Currently, Dungan said, the village of New Paltz’s streetlight charges include two separate components: a rental fee for the light on the pole – which includes all maintenance – and the electricity the light uses.

According to Dungan, there have been past efforts to install LED within the village, however costs were too high.

“We looked at [LED technology] for one light pole that didn’t have a light on it and we wanted to put it on,” he said. “We would have had to get one that was solar powered because Central Hudson had no provision for them and it was going to be between $4,500 and $7,000, so we couldn’t do it.”

Dungan said that in order to consider a village-wide installation of LED bulbs, the cost of transitioning, savings and payback would have to be evaluated thoroughly.

Since information on prices is not yet available, he said, a complete transition might be something the village would not see for a few years.

“There’s really no program yet to sign up for, but it sounds like it’s going to be ready soon,” he said.