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Boothbay considering upgrading all 179 street lights to LEDs

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A bright idea by Boothbay Town Manager Dan Bryer may save taxpayers money and reduce the town’s carbon footprint. Bryer saw that several southern and central Maine and New Hampshire towns were switching their old, sodium-based street lights to more modern, light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This month, Bryer contacted Affinity Lighting of Dover, New Hampshire about Boothbay following suit in upgrading it street lights.

On its website, Affinity boasts of saving clients nearly $6 million in electrical costs and reducing over 19,000 tons of carbon dioxide. On Dec. 11, Affinity Lighting’s founder and president, Steve Lieber, described his company’s service during the Boothbay selectmen’s meeting. Lieber explained how the town could reduce its electric bill for 179 street lights by switching to more technologically advanced bulbs.

Affinity provides two services for LED upgrades. One involves smart technology which allows for streets lights to communicate with one another by reducing lighting in more illuminated sections by providing more illumination to dark areas within the network. This service requires a $1,500 annual fee to Verizon for managing the network.

Based on the cost savings, Lieber told selectmen they would recoup their installation costs, regardless of whether they opted for smart technology or not, within three years. “This is going to save you $24,000 annually, and over the lights’ 20-year lifetime, it saves you $500,000, reduces your power consumption by 78%, and carbon dioxide emissions by 47 tons per year,” he said.

Selectmen want more information before making a decision to lease or buy the LED system. But the presentation left a strong impression on Selectman Dale Harmon. “I’m excited about this. They are great lights with great savings,” he said.

In other action, selectmen approved Central Maine Power’s pole permit request for a house lot on the corner of Pension Ridge and Bryer’s Neck Road. Selectmen also deeded back a right of way to Maine Department of Transportation. In 2017, the department provided Boothbay with a right of way easement for the Route 27 improvement plan. Under an agreement, Boothbay is required to return the right of way upon project completion.

Selectmen meet next at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 in the municipal building’s conference room.

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