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Raleigh streetlights get a brighter look

Posted December 3, 2015
Updated December 4, 2015

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— The streets of Raleigh are getting a brighter look as the city replaces tens of thousands of streetlights with LED bulbs.

The familiar amber glow of old-fashioned incandescent lights is on its way out, replaced with brighter and more long-lasting LEDs.

Jed Niffenegger, transportation operations director for the City of Raleigh, said the lights have been tested over the past few years and have been well-received.

"We didn't receive any negative feedback, all positive," he said.

The falling price of LEDs makes them less expensive than the old-fashioned lights. Once crews are replacing all 32,000 streetlights around Raleigh, city taxpayers will save about $400,000 per year.

"Everybody wanted go that way because of the light quality and the reduced energy consumption," Niffenegger said. "Now that the costs have come down, it's a no-brainer.

"There's less maintenance, they last a lot longer, there's really no downside with them," he said.

The difference is visible.While the old-fashioned lamps throw dim light over a wide area., the LEDs provide a focused, cleaner beam of light, which should make driving in the dark easier.

Streetlights in Raleigh belong to Duke Energy, which leases them to the city. The bulb replacement project should be complete by the end of 2016.


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  • B.c. Jimmy Dec 4, 2015
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    City employees need a raise.

  • Joe Simpson Dec 4, 2015
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    BTW, "the familiar amber glow" of streetlights is not that of "old-fashioned incandescent lights" - it is that of high-pressure sodium-vapor lamps - these are gas-discharge, not incandescent, devices.

  • Joe Simpson Dec 4, 2015
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    Sounds like a boondoggle to me. Why not wait until the old ones fail (typically in 2-3 years)? New LED units will be cheaper in the future. The labor costs to replace 32,000 streetlights will dwarf the energy savings. My guess is that someone well-connected has earned a very nice commission for brokering this deal.

  • Matt Nickeson Dec 4, 2015
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    My question about this transition regards the cost effectiveness of replacing functioning lights with LEDs. I certainly think the advantages of LEDs are obvious but I have to wonder if it would be better to replace the existing lights at the end of their life-cycle rather than en masse. What happens with the old style lights? This is an honest question and something that I would love for WRAL to investigate and report on.

  • Patric Pederson Dec 4, 2015
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    I feel like this is old news...LED streetlights have been popping up all over for the last couple of years. Cary and Morrisville had them in 2013.

  • James Powell Dec 4, 2015
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    so does that mean taxes are going down? or is the city saving $400,000.