Town Square

Post a New Topic

Pleasanton Council OKs new street lights, telephone system costing $3.5 million

Original post made on Jan 15, 2013

The Pleasanton City Council authorized the city staff Tuesday to seek low-interest loans that will finance the installation of energy-saving street lights throughout the city.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 7:57 AM

Comments (18)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by ROI
a resident of West of Foothill
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:14 am

Why can't the reporters also provide ROI information. Will the lights never save the city money? Is this only to reduce our carbon footprint? Has the city looked at other ways to offset the carbon footprint without spending so much?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:28 am

"Why can't the reporters also provide ROI information. Will the lights never save the city money?"

It would have been good if the article provided a link to some more information about the factors that went into the decisions, but I'm pretty sure that the change to LED lighting will pay for itself soon. I switched nearly all of my most frequently used household lights to LED light and have noticed a significant cost savings in electric bills. The LED lights will probably pay for themselves in just a few years. The city should notice a significant savings in their electric lighting bills as well. Also, since LED lights last many years longer than incandescent or halogen or fluorescent or carbon arc lights, the city will also reap a significant savings in maintenance costs by not having to frequently send workers to replace all those lights. Reducing the carbon footprint is just icing on the cake.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sirena
a resident of Val Vista
on Jan 15, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Fix the sidewalks first and the big pot holes on West Las Positias instead of closing one lane.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Taxes
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Really ?? is that tops on the city's list for spending ?? I hadn't noticed there is a problem. Danbury Park, aside from paying for tar coating their own private streets, also provides and pays for their own street lights, maintance, and lamp replacement. Yet each owner pays full valuation property taxes like every other Pleasanton resident. So although not receiving relief for these capital expenses, they do pay twice.
Considering there aren't many new sources of funding on the horizon, I would hope there is a compelling need for replacement of a system, and not just an enviro idea that after the fact, we learn the savings aren't quite what they were cracked up to be.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Mad Hatter
a resident of another community
on Jan 15, 2013 at 3:53 pm

As someone who was involved in the initial LED light testing for the City back in 2009, I'm excited to see the City moving forward on this project. It depends on the final cost the City negotiated for the street lights, but when I was rough calculating the ROI for upgrading the City's lighting system to LED I was getting roughly 5-6 years if you averaged out all the lights in the City (lower wattage lighting typical in residential areas take longer to recover the operating costs, higher wattage typical on arterial streets recover their costs more quickly). This doesn't include cost savings due to reduced maintenance costs.

There are some other great benefits of LED street light technology. First, we were projecting that the typical LED street light could last 10-15 years or longer on average, which would save significant maintenance costs over time and would last much longer than their high pressure sodium counterparts. The lighting "color rendering" is much more color neutral than typical street lights, resulting in street lighting that's easier on the eye and more in line with normal daylight (rather than the yellow/orange glow from standard lights). The initial light levels are a bit lower, but the light distribution on the pavement surface (efficiency) is significantly improved over traditional street lights. The result will be a more even lighting pattern and reduction of the "bright and dark" patterns that typically exist in between street lights. Finally, many of the LED manufacturer's street lights are recessed inside the street light housing, meaning little to no glare into neighboring windows or bedrooms.

Once you see these in place I think you will be very pleasantly surprised and happy on their performance. And while they involve a considerable up front cost, these devices will ultimately save the City millions of dollars over the lifetime of the project. Congrats!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Timothy T
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 15, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Any chance these new lights come with timing that make it so that if I hit one red light, I won't hit them all? Or make it so that it won't take me 15 minutes to go 4 miles?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Citizen
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:51 pm

LED street light levels is significantly lower and there is dimmer distribution. No light and dark areas, just dim. Make sure your vehicle lights are HID so you can see ahead. But the LED street lights do save money. Just not yours when you hit something! Check out Walnut Creek and Concord. More places for night crawlers to hide.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BJ Tiffany Lane
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 16, 2013 at 11:54 am

Can someone tell me if the City chose a local vendor for providing the new telephone system. Is it not a requirement in the cities charter to do exactly that?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ptown native
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Have to keep those Unions busy!!!!
That's all it really is I'm sure.
There's lots more urgent needs than this.
But they will keep coming up with these
mindless but huge projects...they will never
stop until we stop standing for it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ROI
a resident of West of Foothill
on Jan 17, 2013 at 9:21 am

Thanks all for providing the ROI as a nebulous number. Why is it that the city of Dublin can provide a cost savings number (not sure it is accurate, but at last it is a number)and the city of Pleasanton wants us all just to feel good about helping the environment. I am all for converting to LEDs. I am all for reducing our carbon footprint; however the city has a fiduciary responsibility to the constituents. It should be a simple number to calculate. Cost to replace lamps /((Watts of old lamps - watts of new LED)*hours on per year/1000 *cost per kwh.)= years before new lamps become cost efficient.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ptown native
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jan 17, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Why can't we replace with the new bulbs
as the old ones die out?
Like we do at home....
Why does it have to be ;
"how many union/city workers does
it take to change a lightbulb joke???
It's rediculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 17, 2013 at 5:26 pm

ROI wrote: "Why is it that the city of Dublin can provide a cost savings number (not sure it is accurate, but at last it is a number)and the city of Pleasanton wants us all just to feel good about helping the environment...."

ROI, if you spent 1/10 as much time calling up the city and trying to get the data as you do on pointless griping and complaining on these forums, then you would already have the answer by now. I'm sure that they have the hard numbers that you want and that they are not proposing this because it just "feels good". Now you can either spend your time pointlessly griping back to me here on these forums, or you can attempt to go get the hard facts.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 17, 2013 at 5:44 pm

ROI wrote: " It should be a simple number to calculate. Cost to replace lamps /((Watts of old lamps - watts of new LED)*hours on per year/1000 *cost per kwh.)= years before new lamps become cost efficient."

Also, a rough calculation of the savings, while relatively simple, is not as simple as you make it out to be. The formula you supplied is basically valid for a homeowner to use to calculate how many years it would take for LED bulbs to pay for themselves. But that's because a homeowner's time is essentially "free". For the city, they also reap considerable savings in reduced maintenance costs in not having to hire so many people going around and replacing burned out conventional streetlights (typical lifetime 3 to 5 years) as opposed to LED streetlights (estimated lifetime 10-15 years).

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by The Mad Hatter
a resident of another community
on Jan 17, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Unlike residential homes, street lights are charged on an 'unmetered' rate. It's called and "LS-2" electrical rate schedule for customer owned street and highway lighting. The City essentially pays a monthly fee for each light (too expensive to have a meter for every street light). Virtually all the existing City street lights are High Pressure Sodium. For a 200 watt lamp (example) the City pays about $10.50 per month. An LED equivalent (probably in the 90 watt range) is $3.91 per month. Savings of about $80 per year for this particular example. Typical new LED street lights (purchase only) are in the mid to high $200 range depending on brand and model. Installation is fairly quick - a light can be changed out in about 10-15 minutes (most of the time setting up the truck and safety "stuff" to do the work). As the previous poster said, this doesn't include the maintenance costs to replace burned out bulbs far more frequently.

So overall, the cost recovery is pretty quick. I don't know what the City ended up calculating it to be, but 5-6 years is a fairly conservative number. Not an economics major, but I believe a return of investment in that short a time period would constitute a good investment, and will eventually save the City millions over the lifetime of the project if the LED lights last as long as they are expected to. Plus (in my opinion) LED lighting significantly outperforms high pressure sodium lights and will improve roadway safety throughout the City.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sam
a resident of Oak Hill
on Jan 18, 2013 at 12:17 am

Thanks for all the info, "Mad Hatter".


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Tired of Spending
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:43 am

Really? SPEND...SPEND...SPEND...that's all we do. I didn't realize our City had so much extra funds to spend on frivolous items. This spending is out of control.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mohr Resident
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jan 18, 2013 at 9:54 am

I'm glad they are doing this. I have noticed, while driving around town, more street lights seem to be off than normal. Anything that lengthens the time between having to replace lights is a good thing. Already called the city on the one constantly out at Iron Horse Trail and Mohr. As for Danbury resident - it pays for all the lights in the city. So if you walk or drive around the city at night, you use those lights.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by artlover
a resident of Birdland
on Jan 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I called and wrote the city several times to report that the lights were on at the Sports Park path in broad daylight. You can imagine how many there are of those. NEVER got fixed. sigh
Also, I have seen 2 HUGE brand trucks with Pleasanton's logo on them- They obviously are only needed for super duper big projects. I've never seen them before now- why must we even own, paint, maintain such vehicles? I would think it would be cost effective to rent or contract out such a need- but who am I?- just a dumb taxpayer.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: *

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Answering questions from my last blog on the cemetery
By Roz Rogoff | 83 comments | 1,895 views

Bandwidth and the spinning wheel: Net neutrality
By Gina Channell-Allen | 4 comments | 901 views

A fitting tribute to Ken Mercer
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 616 views