Charleston to consider agreement with Dominion Energy to convert nearly 7K streetlights to LED

Charleston City Council will consider an agreement with Dominion Energy that will convert nearly 7,000 street lights to LED.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 3:47 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2022 at 9:12 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Charleston City Council will consider an agreement with Dominion Energy that will convert nearly 7,000 street lights to LED.

City of Charleston Parks Director Jason Kronsberg said the conversion will come at no cost to the city, and the lights that will be replaced are the cobra headlights. Those are the ones attached to the side of telephone poles and lean into the streets off the peninsula.

Kronsberg said the city leases these lights that are not on the peninsula from the utility, and Dominion will be providing a cash incentive to upgrade the lights to LED.

The city said they will save around $9,000 per month over the five-year agreement, totaling about $540,000 in energy savings.

Officials said replacing the outdated lights will also cut out over 1,200 metric tons of CO2 emissions, a 5% drop in the city’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Kronsberg said the new LED bulbs will emit white light and will contribute to less light pollution.

“So, they are cutoff fixtures, so they are dark skies compliant from light emissions,” he said. “A cutoff fixture directs light towards the ground, and so it doesn’t go in the air.”

This agreement will be up for vote at the next ways and means committee on Tuesday, with it heading to full council shortly after.

If approved, the city says work can start almost immediately to replace the lights. Officials hope to have the remaining lights converted to LED by the end of next year.

Dominion Energy spokesperson Paul Fischer released the following statement on the city’s potential conversion:

“Dominion Energy South Carolina is committed to a sustainable energy future, including innovative lighting solutions that provide permanent benefits to the community and the environment.

More than half of the municipalities we serve across our service territory have already committed to the program or completed the LED conversion. Energy consumption can be as much as 50 percent lower with LED lighting, reducing both costs and environmental impacts. Light output provides excellent coverage with more uniformity and less shadows for increased safety.

The City of Charleston has more than 6,800 lights eligible for conversion to high-efficiency LED. If adopted, the program will save more than 3.7 million kilowatt hours of energy annually, or enough energy to power nearly 350 homes for a year.

Also, the equipment is capable of sending automatic notifications to Dominion Energy if a light is out. This reduces the burden on the City to identify and report a damaged light, and allows us to respond quickly and efficiently to make the necessary repairs.”