Middletown’s streetlights are about to look different, and it will save hundreds of thousands of dollars

Middletown could soon begin converting some streetlights to LED light heads, a move that would save hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Public Works/Utilities Director Scott Tadych told Middletown’s city council during Tuesday’s work session that the city contracts with Duke Energy to operate and maintain the 3,771 cobra head-style streetlights. He said the city has been working with Duke Energy for two years on options to convert the streetlights to LED streetlights. Tadych said that Duke Energy approached the city about the LED conversion project.

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Tadych said converting to LED streetlights will allow for “a significant savings” in the annual energy and maintenance charge to the city in addition to brighter lighting and fewer streetlight outages. He said LED bulbs typically last seven to 10 years instead of one to three years for the current bulbs.

City Manager Doug Adkins said some changes in the last 45 days are allowing the city to move forward on the estimated $2.2 million project. City officials are proposing a two-phase project that would replace 2,000 streetlight heads to LED for about $1.2 million.

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Adkins said the city had received a $1.2 million reimbursement from the Ohio Department of Transportation from the 2009 Interstate 75/Ohio 122 interchange improvement and highway widening project. He said the city paid $6.4 million in 2009 for the estimated city share of the project.

Tadych said the city issued bonds for the highway project and is currently paying the debt service until the bonds expire in 2029.

Adkins said the city could not bond the LED conversion project because Duke Energy owns the streetlights.

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However, he said the city could use the highway reimbursement to do Phase One, which would cover the older part of the city and would include areas south of Columbia Avenue, Reinartz Boulevard, Flemming Road to North Breiel Boulevard, south on Breiel Boulevard to Roosevelt Boulevard, then south on Cincinnati-Dayton Road.

The rest of the city would be completed in Phase Two. Tadych also said the city will need to update the streetlight standards for new subdivisions.

“This will pay for itself in within seven years,” Adkins said.

Tadych said the city spends about $461,000 per year on energy and maintenance for the existing cobra head streetlights. He said the city is projected to spend about $102,000 on energy and maintenance for the proposed LED streetlights for an annual savings of $359,000.

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