Who determines street light needs and how are the locations determined? This is becoming quite a topic in our town.
Please find attached what Charlestown uses as Street Lighting warrants. We determined approximately thirty years ago that street lights represented an ongoing cost to the community and that they should only be placed to prevent/reduce accidents.
In East Providence we too are closely looking at our streetlights. We pay approx. $750,000 per year to NGrid for our streetlights.
Every city and town pays a tariff rate per streetlight. More than 1/2 of the rate is for maintenance. In some communities outside of RI significant savings have been realized by the community taking over the ownership and maintenance of the streetlights. Currently there is no NGrid rate or legislation in RI for a community to do this.
Given the cost and potential savings involved - this is something that we will continue to explore.
This is a great question. From information that I have gathered, I do know that National Grid will install when requested but they will not participate in the determination of where they should or should not be located. I would assume that this would relate to potential liability issues but I cannot be sure.
This might be a good topic for discussion at our next get together as perhaps it can be determined the best way to perform an analysis of a community lighting needs or the best way to handle lighting requests, implementation of design standards that may be out there etc. Perhaps the T2Center could sponsor a talk bringing in a lighting expert such as Antonio Franco who might be able to explain standards, procedures etc.
Just a thought.
William R. Riccio
Street lights are typically a negotiated item between Town and resident – part politics part public relations. However, Town projects are evaluated by project engineer. National Grid provides limited assistance with type after the Town selects the location.
In Warren the Town Council takes request and decides if a light is warranted then National Grid is contacted to install it. The Town ultimately pays the bill so National Grid will not act until the Town signs off on the installation.
We asked National Grid last year for an electronic inventory of every street light in Town that we are billed for.
Our Police Department went and conducted a night time field survey of every streetlight on the inventory and compiled a wattage reduction request, where deemed appropriate. The request was then forwarded to National Grid.
However, we are still awaiting a time schedule from National Grid to change out lamp wattages as requested by the Town.
Scott – we (after evaluation by the Police and DPW folks) make a request to National Grid – has to be approved by the Town Manager – for a light at a specific location, and they put it on their schedule. We get billed according to their PUC-approved rate schedule based on the wattage of the lamp (no installation charge – just monthly usage). We pay whether the light works or not, so there is an incentive to call them to report lights that are out.
Jeff - That’s the real question, We try to base it on sight distance (night time) – we have visited trouble spots with the Police after dark to get a better view of things. We may also look for other public safety issues (more Police oriented than just traffic, like near the docks in Galilee ). It is hard to avoid the political requests – we no doubt have installed some lights in Narragansett that were not necessarily public safety driven. Given the expense, you can always cite budget limitations too as a reason to say no.
As far as specific guidelines, we do not perform any true illumination studies, but try to visualize the light and the impact on surrounding homes – we have actually put up lights and then have had complaints about too much light in the bedroom windows…some of that can be avoided by asking National Grid for different light heads…so I guess the answer is that we do not do it scientifically, but based on the collective Police and DPW experience in terms of safety for vehicles and pedestrians, or crime deterrent reaons…
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