Shedding Light on Street Lamp Costs

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Robert Sheets says he's got a bright idea.

"The best way to deter crime is to light it up," he said.

The Charleston city councilman wants all street lights in the city changed to new LED bulbs. The brighter lights don't have to be replaced as often as the current ones -- something he says puts more money back in your pocket.

"You don't have to pay a crew to come up and replace the light bulbs [as often]," he said.

But public works officials don't agree. They say LED lights are more expensive to buy upfront and only save you money when used on traffic signals.

"The power that is consumed is much greater for a streetlight than it is with a traffic signal," city engineer Allen Copley said.

On Capitol Street about 10 LED lights are set up as a test. Folks told the boost in brightness could help fight crime.

"I think having a lot more visibility at night would prevent people from doing that," Christine Pack said. "And I think taking those preventative measures are really important."

Right now, it isn't clear how much overhauling all of the lights would cost.

City leaders say that's something they'd have to work out with the power company, which isn't offering to do that right now.

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