Lighting upgrade will save Voorheesville thousands

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff

Spotlight on savings: The Voorheesville Board of Trustees at its monthly meeting approved a project to replace all of the ballasts and bulbs in village-owned buildings, a move that will save thousands of dollars annually. In addition, the village has also joined with New Scotland, Altamont, and Guilderland to take advantage of a program from National Grid that could significantly lower each municipality’s street-lighting bill.

VOORHEESVILLE — An upgrade to all of the lighting in village-owned buildings will save Voorheesville, after an initial pay-back period of a little over two years, about $8,000 annually.

At its October monthly meeting, the board of trustees awarded Potentia Management Group of New Hartford in Oneida County a contract to replace all of the ballasts and bulbs in the village hall, pump house, sewage-treatment facility, firehouse, firehouse, highway department, Nichols Park, and the parking lot shared by the firehouse and highway department.

The cost of the contract with Potentia is $30,275; however, with incentives from National Grid, the project will end up costing the village about $17,000.

A ballast controls the amount of energy that goes into a light fixture, without one a light could burn out almost immediately. The latest technologically-advanced ballast coupled with a light-emitting-diode bulb, which needs hardly any power to produce light, adds up to serious savings, pretty quickly.

Voorheesville has also joined with New Scotland, Altamont, and Guilderland to take advantage of a program from National Grid that could significantly lower each municipality’s street-lighting bill, through a combination of energy, maintenance, and lease-cost savings.

Last year, Richard Straut, a Voorheesville trustee, told The Enterprise that the village could see as much as a 66-percent decrease in its street-lighting bill, from $81,000 to $27,000; for its 2018-19 budget, Voorheesville allocated $102,000 for street lighting.  

The savings would come from buying the existing street lights from National Grid; however, if a street light is on an existing utility pole that carries power lines, the village would have to lease the right to have its lamp on National Grid’s pole.

“We’re going to have to outlay, we think, about $250,000 to buy out National Grid,” said Straut, in December 2017.

Savings would also come from swapping out the current lighting for LEDs; Straut estimated the village’s energy bill could go down by as much as $12,000.

LED street lights use 45- to 70-percent less energy than high-pressure sodium street lights, which account for close to 90 percent of street lights currently in place in the state, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Additionally, by owning its lighting, Straut said, Voorheesville could save significantly on maintenance. Last year, the village paid $62,000 to lease and maintain its 317 streetlights; Straut estimated that the village itself might be able to do it for around $20,000.

It would take the village about seven-and-a-half years to pay off the project, he said. But, at the time, Straut stressed these were preliminary estimates.