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Mamakating considers switching to LED Streetlamps

By Samantha Montagna
Posted 7/29/22

MAMAKATING — “It’s a no brainer,” Daphne Hodgson told the Democrat after Real Term Energy’s presentation about LED streetlights. During the town board meeting on July …

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Mamakating considers switching to LED Streetlamps


MAMAKATING — “It’s a no brainer,” Daphne Hodgson told the Democrat after Real Term Energy’s presentation about LED streetlights. During the town board meeting on July 19, Steve Harriman, Senior Director of Business Development for Real Term Energy, gave a presentation to show the town board the logistics of switching all their streetlamps to LED.

Real Term Energy is currently doing a lot of work in Orange and Rockland counties, Harriman said, and they have installed and maintained streetlamps for over 300 municipalities to date. Streetlamps are one of the biggest expenses for lighting for municipalities, so changing over to LED will lead to substantial savings, Harriman explained.

Harriman explained that Real Term Energy will be with Mamakating for the entire process.

“We do it all,” he said.

The company can finance, has software for installation and maintenance of the lamps, and they supervise every installation with a third party auditing the process to ensure proper installation.

Real Term Energy has completed 55,000 smart remote LED lights across the country and over 350,000 streetlights overall in 13 states and Canada. Currently, the company has installed 1,400 lights in Newark, New Jersey, and is doing work in Monroe, Warwick, Suffern, and others, and they can provide references, Harriman said.

To start, Mamakating would have to buy the LED lamps from Orange & Rockland (O&R) Utilities. They have the option to upgrade with O&R, but Harriman explained, the town will miss out on the maintenance savings associated with using Real Term Energy.

Harriman stated the project will cost approximately $81,000 to buy and convert all the lamps. The savings will start with the energy savings as the current lamps use up to 488 watts of energy, and LED lights will drop usage down to 135 watts. Most of the fixtures, Harriman explained, use 211 watts, and the LED lights will drop them down to 60 watts.

Harriman estimated a 72 percent savings in energy usage.
The process from starting to finishing the installation would be approximately nine months.

The town will also save in maintenance as the town will not have to change out bulbs, and lamps have a 20-year service life. There are 141 current streetlamps that use 93,000 kilowatt hours at $26,000 a year.

LED lights have a failure rate of 1 percent, he also stated. After the upgrade, the cost will be $7,200 a year leading to $19,000 a year saved. Harriman estimates that the lights will pay for themselves in just over four years.
Harriman also noted that the board has the option to pay for the lights outright using existing cash, or they can finance it. The board can see different interest rates and utilize different plans to fit their needs, but every plan will end up with the board being cash flow positive.

Harriman mentioned the rising energy costs and inflation during his presentation. He said that the unpredictability of costs make this a “tough time,” and “most municipalities want to get a better handle on costs.”

Councilman Peter Goodman asked what the smart controls were. Harriman explained that if a streetlight was too bright in front of someone’s house, and they complained, the board could quickly dim the light using a laptop.

For Mamakating, however, since smart controls operate on LTE networks, and cell service is a challenge in this area, the smart controls may not be a good option.
Deputy Supervisor John Rufer asked about the 1 percent failure rate of the LED lights.

For Mamakating, that would equate to about three streetlights, and Rufer asked what that cost would be to the town. Harriman explained that the fixtures are guaranteed for 10 years, so the fixture would be replaced.

The town would still, however, need to pay for a contractor to change out the head. Real Term Energy can do all the maintenance for the town at $100 a month, and they put 20 percent on any electrical contractors, “so it is affordable,” Harriman stated.

Chris Leser told the board that they should consult the O&R representative for this process, as they can be a great help. Leser also asked if the lighting districts in Summitville and Phillipsport will be included, and the board responded yes.

Jackie Broder asked on Zoom what the energy source for the lighting system will be and how much of it is renewable energy. Town Supervisor Mike Robbins stated that the town’s energy source would still be O&R, and they would have to ask them where the energy itself would come from.

Cathy Dawkins asked if the savings for the lights and the cost of the maintenance would be passed through to the residents of the lighting districts, and Robbins stated yes; however, the LTE service for the smart controls would still need some work in those districts.


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