NEW ORLEANS, LA—This week, the New Orleans City Council passed a resolution at the request of the Landrieu administration to authorize approximately $14.7 million in one-time Energy Smart funds to convert old streetlights to energy-efficient LED fixtures on the east bank of Orleans Parish. LED lights have a 7-10 year life span (compared to 2-3 years for conventional), use 30-50% less energy, and provide better lighting. The $14.7 million comes from an Entergy account for an energy savings program. It costs the ratepayer nothing extra.
The City of New Orleans owns approximately 54,000 streetlights, including those on the Interstate highways and State roads. As the Landrieu Administration took office in May 2010, a backlog of over 16,000 streetlight outages existed representing over 29% of all streetlights within New Orleans. The Landrieu Administration has fixed over 43,000 streetlights since taking office. But because lights are continually burning out as others are repaired, a total of 4,400 streetlight outages are currently being tracked. Since 2012, when the City first received federal stimulus funding for LED conversions, over 17,000 streetlights have already been converted to energy efficient lighting. There are approximately 37,000 streetlights that have not yet been converted to energy efficient or LED fixtures (includes Interstate).
“In the last four years, we’ve made real progress on streetlight repairs, but it’s clear that this infusion of one-time funding will allow us to convert old streetlights into energy efficient LED lights, which are cheaper to maintain, and in the end, will save the ratepayers and taxpayers money,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Streetlight maintenance will remain an ongoing liability that we are working on solutions to address. I want to thank the City Council and Entergy New Orleans for working with us to identify funding for these streetlight conversions and repairs and I look forward to working together on a long term solution that secures a comprehensive and sustainable funding source dedicated to upgrading our streetlight infrastructure.”
This new funding will allow for the City to continue converting outdated conventional streetlights to energy-efficient LED fixtures and lights. For 2014, the City Council budgeted $500,000 from the General Fund for streetlight repairs and maintenance. There was an additional $1.6 million in community development block grants left over from 2013 that could be used for repairs. At this time, the City has spent that money.
Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer Andy Kopplin said, “We worked closely with the Council to identify this source of funding to continue our plan to convert all of the city’s streetlights to energy efficient LED’s, and look forward to continuing to work with them to find a permanent source of funding to address this highest priority for our residents.”
For more than 2 years, Mayor Landrieu has proposed finding a sustainable funding source for streetlight repairs and replacements, whether it be a franchise fee or an Energy Smart program. The ultimate goal, once a long-term, sustainable funding stream is identified, is to convert all of the City’s streetlights to energy efficient lights to reduce energy usage and cost, reduce sustainability.
City Council President Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson said, “This is a wonderful opportunity and even though it has a limited use we are fortunate to have it. We commend the utility committee and staff for securing this for our city. Since it can only be used for the east bank, we now need to find an equal opportunity to provide the same for the west bank.”
City Council Vice President Stacey Head said, “This is a good use of funds dedicated to energy efficiency because it will immediately begin improving our streetlight system and making our City more energy efficient and sustainable. I look forward to working with the Mayor’s administration, Entergy, and the Council to find a long-term solution for other energy-efficiency upgrades, streetlight system repairs, and streetlight maintenance.”
District A Councilmember Susan Guidry said, “Improving the quality, efficiency, and reliability of our City’s streetlights is essential to public safety as well as quality of life for the residents of New Orleans. I am very proud of what Energy Smart has accomplished so far, and the commitment of this funding is an important step in continuing that progress.”
District B Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said, “Through the City’s partnership with Entergy New Orleans, we have provided financial assistance for homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient. The City Council believes that the same efficiency upgrades should apply to city services. This dedicated money to convert streetlights from conventional to modern LED lighting will save our city money on operational costs that include bulb replacement with the average life span of 8 years. These modern LED streetlights will decrease the actual costs of electricity and ensure more illumination for safer streets.”
District D Councilmember Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, “The reliability and functionality of our streetlights is critical to public safety. The Energy Smart program has made great strides in improving energy efficiency in our City and the LED Conversion program is an excellent complement to this program.”
Cedric Grant, Deputy Mayor of Facilities and Infrastructure said, “Streetlight maintenance has remained a challenge due to the age, diversity, and reliability of the City’s system. Much of the system is outdated. The funding authorized today will help us upgrade to LED lighting, which will ultimately save the taxpayers money in energy savings and maintenance costs in the end. As funding for repairs is available, we will focus efforts to fix streetlight outages based on how long the streetlight has been out and public safety concerns.”
Outages are identified from reports from residents to the NOLA 311 system. Residents are encouraged to report outages to 311, which operates 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Monday – Friday. Simply dial 3-1-1 from any phone based in New Orleans or call (504) 658-2299.