By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
While street lighting costs have taken a serious dip since the installation of new, energy-efficient LED bulbs, it appears growth is pushing back against those savings as 2018 sees the city paying slightly more to keep its streets lit.
Over the course of the last year, growth in the city has pushed street lighting costs upwards approximately $100,000 from $1.3 million in 2017 to $1.4 million in 2018. And while the dollar value is simply a drop in the bucket of Oshawa’s mutli-million dollar budget, it begs the question as to the impact of council’s decision to invest nearly $10 million into the new LED bulbs as the increase cuts into the originally projected savings.
The LED lighting project, approved in 2016, was based off numbers presented in a report that claimed the new system could save Oshawa more than $1.4 million a year, mostly coming from energy costs as the new bulbs are projected to reduce energy consumption by as much as 60 per cent and will require less maintenance.
According to Ron Diskey, the city’s commissioner of community services, the costs have indeed increased, mostly due to the addition of new fixtures.
“Street lighting energy costs have increased from the 2017 budget to the 2018 budget,” Diskey states in an emailed statement. “This is due to the increase in the number of street lights the city has acquired due to growth, 574 new fixtures as well as inflationary increases to the cost of energy. There are other factors that also affect the costs including distribution cost of energy and the global adjustment.”
With that said, Diskey says the projected amount for 2018, is still a decrease from previous years before the LED change.
“Also please note, prior to the implementation of the LED program, the city, in 2016, was budgeting approximately $2.24 million for the same budget line,” he says.
With that noted, the current amount would suggest that the city is still paying $400,000 more than originally projected with the new lights, as the current budget would only mark a $1 million reduction in costs from 2016, instead of the $1.4 million annual savings originally thought.