Com­mis­sion sets rules for sale of street­lights

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By William J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­

A state Pub­lic Ser­vice Com­mis­sion or­der fi­nal­iz­ing fees that util­i­ties can charge for the sale of street­lights to municipalities is ex­pected to speed the move to pub­lic own­er­ship and up­dat­ing of the fix­tures.

The de­ci­sion was made at a meet­ing Thurs­day, with the com­mis­sion set­ting for­mu­las for charges levied when util­i­ties change lights, up­date fix­tures, in­spect equip­ment, sell the equip­ment, and re­move poles.

Among the is­sues re­solved was who should pay for the re­moval of a fix­ture, which com­mis­sion­ers de­cided should only be paid by a mu­nic­i­pal­ity if it re­quested the change.

“If the re­moval is made at the re­quest of the cus­tomer, the util­ity may charge the cus­tomer for this ser­vice,” they wrote. “Oth­er­wise, the cus­tomer should not be charged.”

The or­der was is­sued as com­mu­ni­ties such as Kingston and Rosendale

are con­sid­er­ing mov­ing to light-emit­ting dioder (LED) lights, which use far less elec­tric­ity than tra­di­tional sodium va­por and mer­cury lamps, and pos­si­bly tak­ing over own­er­ship of the equip­ment.

Municipalities in some cases are seek­ing to buy the en­tire pole and fix­ture to re­duce rental charges as­sessed by util­i­ties.

“Right now, the util­i­ties

have all of the power be­tween the util­i­ties and municipalities in the pur­chase process be­cause they con­trol or have all the in­for­ma­tion that municipalities need to make in­formed de­ci­sions about what is rea­son­able and what is not rea­son­able,” said Cit­i­zens for Lo­cal Power spokes­woman Jen­nifer Met­zger, who is also a Rosendale Town Board mem­ber.

“So we were seek­ing to make sure that all of the costs that util­i­ties were im­pos­ing were rea­son­able and re­lated to the ac­tual cost of ser­vice,” she said. “All of the util­i­ties have their own ar­cane way of do­ing things that is dif­fer­ent from one util­ity to the next. So we were call­ing for stan­dard­iza­tion, much greater trans­parency, and fair­ness with re­spect to costs.”

Cen­tral Hud­son spokesman John Maser­jian said a stan­dard, 70-watt sodium va­por uses 344 kilo­watts per hour each year at a $27 cost. LED bulbs can emit the same amount of light us­ing only 39 watts of elec­tric­ity, or 156 kilo­watt hours per year, at a $12.48 an­nual cost.

Met­zger said the costs could be re­duced even fur­ther with lower wattage bulbs and that com­par­isons

used by Cen­tral Hud­son do not re­flect the ac­tual change in how much area is cov­ered by LED bulbs.

“All of the util­i­ties have over­sized for the lights that they are re­plac­ing,” she said. “The wattage lev­els are higher than they need to be so the en­ergy sav­ings are not as great as they would be is a more ap­pro­pri­ately sized LED was in­stalled.”

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