City Looks to Buy Electric Poles
In order to save funds and put in better LED lights, the City has made an offer to Eversource to purchase all the streetlights in the City.
“Right now Eversource owns our streetlamps, so if someone crashes into a pole Eversource is responsible for coming out and fixing them,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “We pay a lot of costs to keep the lights on through the rates we pay. If we were to own the poles we would save from $250,000 to $300,000 a year.”
The City would convert all the lights to LED. The City would take on the maintenance of them, but they can have a maintenance agreement with a separate company who will take over that responsibility so it is not done by the City.
“It’s a huge energy savings for us, but we can purchase smart light poles to be outfitted to hold cameras and wi-fi boxes. Certain areas of the town can have free wi-fi,” said Stewart. “We can have cameras put on specific areas on top of telephone poles.”
The City is going to be strategic in how many are done and exactly where so that it is not too costly. Every additional adage means the City will save less.
“The studying part to find out where we would put the camera, where would we put the wi-fi and how we would configure it to best meet the needs of the residents is being done now,” said Stewart. “We could look at detachable cameras to move to hotspot areas. It would help our police department out a lot with identifying crimes or victims of crimes or both.”
Public works is working with the IT Department and Eversource and a vendor who will work with the City to maintain the poles and is selling the City the LED lights.
“It is a big undertaking,” said Stewart. “We have 5,761 fixtures (lights) on poles.”
An outfitted pole can hold many things such as a digital street sign or banner that runs on it.
“In a perfect world you could digitally change street signs and have blue or red lights to flash for no parking or a parking ban. There are a lot of bells and whistles and it is expensive, so we can’t do that,” said Stewart. “We don’t plan on changing the poles. We just want to change the fixtures or lights. We will keep the residential wood tall poles.”
In the future, if needed, additional items can be added to the poles.
There is a public safety component that the City can control brightening and dimming of the lights. For an example, if there was an accident, a light can be brightened on that area so everyone can see better.
The City is looking to install cameras in Central Park and Walnut Hill Park. City Hall has already installed cameras.
As part of the Smart City initiative a 780 kilowatt solar array at the Shuttle Meadow Reservoir water filtration plant, that will save the City $2.2 million over the next 20 years, was put in last year as well.