Allentown, PPL Electric Utilities team up for LED streetlight demonstration project

Street lights along a seven-block section of Hamilton Street in Allentown will shine “greener” and lead to lower costs under an LED demonstration project backed by PPL Electric Utilities.

Over the next few weeks, 53 high-pressure sodium street lights on Hamilton between 10th and 17th streets will be converted to more energy-efficient light-emitting diode lights.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski and city Traffic Planning and Control Bureau crews installed the first light Friday morning (10/29). They were joined by PPL Electric Utilities officials for the event near the northeast corner of 13th and Hamilton streets. The new lights will illuminate the streets below for about half the cost of HPS lights. 

As an example, an LED street light that uses 95 watts of electricity can deliver the lighting formerly supplied by a 150-watt HPS lamp. At the current rate, it would cost about $54 a year to operate that HPS light, compared with about $29 for the 95-watt LED light.

The energy saved in one month through the use of the 53 LED street lights would be enough to power 1.5 homes with electric heat for that month, or 2.5 homes without electric heat.

In addition, LED lights offer a whiter, more uniform light than the existing lamps, according to the company. LED lights also have a much longer lifespan, typically lasting at least 12 years before light levels may start to decrease. That compares to about six years for the average HPS lamp.

“We’re backing this effort so municipalities across our 29-county service territory in eastern and central Pennsylvania can see the results in Allentown and make more informed decisions,” said Bob Geneczko, vice president of Customer Services for PPL Electric Utilities.

“This demonstration also will allow us to gather information and evaluate performance. There are many places in our service territory where we own street lights that are leased by the local communities,” he said. “Lastly, more energy-efficient LEDs use less electricity. That means less power production and less greenhouse gases, which has an environmental benefit.”

Allentown has nearly 8,000 street lights. While it would be cost-prohibitive to replace all of them with LED fixtures, the city decided the demonstration project with PPL was a good opportunity to evaluate the technology.

“We’ll examine how these lights perform with an eye toward the future,” Pawlowski said. “The average street light is on about 4,300 hours a year, so the savings potential is evident. LED lights currently are more expensive to buy than traditional street lights, but the gap is narrowing.”

PPL Electric Utilities is sponsoring the demonstration project for several reasons.

Lights for the Hamilton Street project come from both GE Lighting Systems and Cooper Lighting. The demonstration will see the replacement of 250-watt HPS lights between 10th and 12th streets with 157-watt LED lights. The 150-watt HPS lights between 12th and 17th streets will be replaced with either 95-watt LED lights from GE or 103-watt lights from Cooper.

The demonstration project is part of PPL Electric Utilities E-power initiative, which provides customers with a comprehensive group of tools, information and incentives to help them use energy more efficiently, save money and reduce their carbon footprint. To learn more about E-power, visit www.pplelectric.com/e-power.

PPL Electric Utilities, a subsidiary of PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL), provides electric delivery services to about 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania and has consistently ranked among the best companies for customer service in the United States.

For further information: contact Joe Nixon, spokesman, 610-774-5997 or jcnixonjr@pplweb.com
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