Study finds safety gains and savings in replacing streetlights with LEDs

by Kimberlee Craig | Feb 21, 2017

Chelan County PUD commissioners Tuesday were updated on efforts to determine safety benefits and the cost-effectiveness of replacing streetlights owned by cities, Chelan County and the PUD with energy efficient LEDs (light emitting diodes).

Andrew Grassell, Energy Development and Conservation manager, told commissioners there is a unique opportunity to combine grant funding with PUD incentives to re-light the county.

“In talking with the cities and Chelan County we found they were interested in the benefits of LED streetlights,” Grassell said. “A collaborative approach offers the advantage of the District managing the project and the cities and Chelan County taking the lead on engaging residents, who are also PUD customers.”

Far better visibility is the biggest safety benefit of LED streetlights. Focusing light where it is needed is much easier with LED lighting. That also reduces light pollution, he said.

The energy efficient LEDs last longer, cost less to maintain and there are state grants available to help with the cost of replacing the old streetlights, Grassell said.

A survey found about 4,250 streetlights in the county. Estimates are that switching to LEDs could save about 0.4 average megawatts of electricity a year – enough to light about 150 homes. The cost to achieve those savings would be about $1.9 million.  Grassell said state grant funding of up to $920,000 is available. The project is not financially feasible without grant funding, he noted.

Grassell outlined next steps for the project that include seeking PUD commission approval of new streetlight agreements with local governments and approval to call for bids. Installation is tentatively set for 2018.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners: 

  • Received an update on the Feb. 13 substation meeting in Leavenworth from John Stoll, Customer Utilities managing director.  Response to the three identified sites for the new substation was generally positive. Stoll also invited Chelan Valley customers to the Wednesday Feb. 22 update on locations for a new substation there. Public comment on the proposed sites for both substations is invited through March 3. He said staff plans to bring recommended locations for both substations to commissioners next month.
  • Agreed to increase the scope of an agreement with UtiliWorks to keep working with the firm on advanced two-way metering (AMI) and meter data management (MDMS). In the near-term, the firm will support District customer outreach and engagement. If commissioners decide to pursue AMI, the change also covers longer-term work. The service agreement was increased by $600,000 to $798,000.
  • Adopted the state-required six-year plan for the Wenatchee Water system.
  • Heard there was “overwhelming” support expressed at two community meetings last week for a new natural area along the Loop Trail in Douglas County. Jeff Osborn, license compliance supervisor, said about 20 community members attended Thursday’s session in East Wenatchee. The turnout Wednesday in Wenatchee was smaller. Voting on a name for the area continues through the end of February.
  • Were updated on changes in wholesale telecommunications fees and charges for three new services. Mike Coleman, Fiber and Telecom managing director, said the changes are effective April 1.

Upcoming events:

  • Feb. 22 – Chelan substation meeting, 6-8 p.m., Chelan City Hall 
  • March 6 – Board meeting, 10 a.m.
  • March 20 – Board meeting, 10 a.m.
  • March 30 – Board workshop, 9 a.m., Wenatchee boardroom


The next regular Chelan PUD commission meeting starts at 10 a.m. on Monday, March 6, 2017, in the boardroom at 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.  

Outages or Emergencies

Visit our Safety and Outage Center for information, or to report an outage, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 1-877-PUD-8123.


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