Plans are in the works for Fairfax street lights to be converted into more energy-efficient LEDs, but it could be five years before LED light touches streets in some parts of the county.
In August, Fairfax County signed an agreement with Dominion Energy to convert its streetlights to LED technology, but Matthew Kaiser, information officer for the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, said the plans are still in a very preliminary stage with no timetable established for which areas will be converted first. Kaiser said the conversion process is expected to be a five year program.
The current street lights are high-pressure sodium, metal halide and mercury vapor. LEDs, electric lights which draw their name from the light-emitting diode, often have a higher installation cost than traditional lights but are longer lasting and more energy efficient.
Under the new agreement, Dominion will charge $130 to convert an existing streetlight, though streetlight fixtures that fail will be converted at no cost. Previously, Dominion charged $12 in electricity distribution for basic LED streetlights based on last year’s utility rates, but under the new agreement maintaining LED light costs would be reduced to $7.
Fairfax County has also begun working on installing LEDs inside County facilities. Over 2,277 LED bulbs have been installed since the program began last July.
Kaiser said Dominion Energy informed the County that the earliest they could begin conversions would be sometime after February 2019. Funding for the conversions has been requested to be included in the FY 2020 budget.
Currently, Dominion installs, owns, operates and maintains most of the 58,000 streetlights in Fairfax County, though who owns the lights after Fairfax contributes to the conversion still remains in discussion.
“We anticipate information/recommendations regarding LED streetlight conversions/installations will be presented at a future Board committee meeting in early 2019,” Kaiser said via email. “Whether the lights remain Dominion owned or convert to some percentage county owned, additional funding would still be required to go to LED.”
Photo via Fairfax County