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Pittsfield Switching to LED Streetlights in Early 2019
By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff
01:33AM / Monday, December 24, 2018
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The city streetlights will be converted to LEDs this winter.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — New year, new streetlights.
 
After months of figuring out the logistics, the city will be rolling out the construction phase of converting more than 5,000 street lights to more efficient LED technology. The city signed contracts with Pine Ridge Technologies to replace all street lights, parking lot lights, and exterior school lights throughout the city. 
 
"They have been in the city before. They just ended with our maintenance contract. A new contractor took the maintenance contract and they switched to the LED switch," said City Engineer Ricardo Morales.
 
The City Council had approved $3 million for the project in 2017 and 30 percent of the installation cost is expected to be paid through a Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources grant. In fall 2017, Gov. Charlie Baker's administration announced a $260,227 award to the city for the project.
 
The city hired RealTerm Energy as a consultant to develop the specifics, Pine Ridge won the bid for the installation, and Graybar won the bid for material. 
 
After months of determining which light fixtures to use for various places and going through the procurement process, a joint meeting between the parties on Thursday afternoon transitions to the actual construction phase. 
 
"They have to be done by the end of March. It will be through the winter. There will be a minimum of four crews working throughout the city. We are starting our work on the westside neighborhoods," Morales said.
 
Pine Ridge will have a tight deadline, replacing more than 80 lights a day throughout the next three months. There are 4,708 Cobrahead streetlights throughout the city and 471 ornamental lights to be replaced with light-emitting diodes. The workers are expected to start near the city center on the Westside and then move clockwise. Once that first circle is completed, a second swoop will be done on the outer areas.
 
The city is also working on setting up delivery dates and storage to keep the work going without delays.
 
Though the exact energy savings haven't been determined yet but early projections estimated the switch to more energy-efficient bulbs will reduce bills by around $250,000 per year. 
 
Morales said the choice to go with buying from Graybar is because they offered the technology with the lowest operational cost over 10 years through fixture manufactured by American Electric Lighting. The technology was also required to have a 10-year warranty to qualify for the state grant.
 
"AEL with Graybar wasn't the lowest bidder. It was the second lowest. But they were, in terms of operating cost, by far the lowest," Morales said.
 
The city also signed a new maintenance agreement with Lapinski Electric. During the process of replacing the bulbs, the city will be able to note streetlights that do not work for reasons other than a burnt out bulb. Lapinski will then be asked to fix the issue.
 
The project has been in the works for a while and has finally taken shape.
 
"We've been meeting every two weeks for the design process and this will be the change over to construction," Morales said.
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