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Grand Coulee to seek lighting grant


Grand Coulee is going to move forward and seek a grant to install LED street lights throughout the city, Mayor Paul Townsend said last week.

The issue was brought up by public works Director Dennis Francis at the August 16 city council meeting.

Francis told the council that the city regularly spends about $2,708 a month ($33,355 a year) on power to illuminate its many street lights. He estimated that the city could save about 30-40 percent of what it now spends by installing LED (light emitting diode) lights. Francis said Friday that the savings could be as high as 50 percent.

Townsend said the city has a lot of things going on, but with a potential savings like that he would like to get it done as quickly as a grant would allow.

Francis said he is working on applying for a Transportation Improvement Board “Relight Washington” LED grant. “I have to wait until I get a PUD rate set up for LED lighting. Right now the PUD doesn’t have a rate category for LEDs,” Francis said.

The town of Coulee Dam installed LED street lights through a pilot grant. In 2012, the last full year before installing the new lights, the town had spent $10,646.69 for street lighting costs.

Town Clerk Stefani Bowden said Coulee Dam reduced its street light energy costs by about 63 percent, and the cost continues to come down.

In Coulee Dam, street lighting cost was $3,921.14 in 2015, and it is estimated it will come down to about $3,600 in 2016, Bowden stated.

In addition to the power savings, LED lights take less maintenance and the bulbs last longer.

Residents at a Coulee Dam town council meeting Aug. 24, however, complained that the new lights don’t provide enough light in the shadows. The comments came during a discussion on local crime.

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