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National Grid’s Streetlight Conversion Program

NY State is in the process of transitioning to a clean energy economy. That means that all aspects of our lives will be considered, including the way that we light our streets. As a way to create a more sustainable WNY, National Grid is implementing cleaner and greener technology, starting with roadway lights. 

National Grid regional director Ken Kujawa and Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iafallo display one of the new LED luminaires

As part of its Streetlight Conversion Program, National Grid recently converted 2,300 roadway lights, by partnering with the City of Lackawanna. These new company-owned lights will not only save on energy, they will save on costs to the City – the LED lights last longer, improve visibility, and lower maintenance costs in the process.

In order to accomplish this project, the City of Lackawanna received a $162,000 incentive from National Grid, which covered 92 percent of the total project cost. That means that the City will recoup its investment in less than a year’s time, since it is estimated that there will be savings of $25,000 annually in energy costs. 

LEDs have no filament, produce less heat, require no warmup period to reach full brightness, and make it easier for motorists and pedestrians to recognize objects.

“Thanks to National Grid’s Streetlight Conversion Program, the City of Lackawanna was able to cost effectively modernize a large portion of our city’s streetlight infrastructure to a safer and more energy efficient system,” said Lackawanna Mayor Annette Iaf allo. “And best of all, this service upgrade was accomplished with minimal out-of-pocket cost to our city taxpayers due to the generous rebate associated with our participation in this conversion. I greatly appreciate the efforts of Lackawanna Public Works Commissioner Anthony DeSantis and our partners at National Grid, for delivering this important project to Lackawanna.”

All total, new LED fixtures have saved upstate New York municipalities more than 18,000 megawatt-hours, or the equivalent of average energy consumed annually by approximately 1,660 U.S. homes.

“Visually, LEDs produce a distinctly whiter, brighter light compared to the yellow hue cast by traditional high-pressure sodium lights,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “When working with us, municipalities often consider this difference when specifying which lights are to be converted, particularly in situations where LED and high -pressure sodium streetlights may be on the same street or in close proximity. This program is among the many ways we are working to deliver the clean energy future for our customers.”

National Grid has returned more than $2 million in energy efficiency incentives to qualified municipalities that participated in the company’s Streetlight Conversion program.

Since initially launching its LED Streetlight Conversion Program in 2017, National Grid has converted 40,000 traditional high-pressure sodium streetlight fixtures to LED. And the hope is that more of the company’s upstate New York municipal and governmental streetlight customers will buy into the program.

David Bertola, Corporate Affairs at National Grid, told me that the City of Lackawanna program was just one of a handful that the company has conducted. The Town of Batavia participated in 2017, and more recently the company arranged something similar with Olean, NY. To date, North Tonawanda was the largest project in WNY, and the City of Lackawanna was the largest in Erie County. Currently, the City of Buffalo is in the midst of a streetlight audit, and continues to talk to National Grid. If/when the time comes, the City would have the option of purchasing the LED lights and running them in-house (the State could offset the costs), or National Grid could own and operate the lights, which would mean that they would also handle the maintenance. The street light programs vary from municipality to municipality – there are numerous implementation options, according to Bertola.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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