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Simply put, the City saw an opportunity to reduce expenses and, at the same time, have a positive impact on the environment. The City estimates that once the streetlights are retrofitted with LED fixtures, we will save 1,750,000 kilowatt hours per year in energy, or about a 75% reduction in the energy we currently use for streetlights! That is a significant reduction in energy usage!
In 2015, the City, working in partnership with other member agencies of the Western Riverside Council of Governments (WRCOG), began investigating the idea of purchasing streetlights from Southern California Edison (SCE). Once purchased, the City would retrofit the streetlights with modern, energy efficient LED fixtures. The goal was to save money on the amount that SCE billed for energy consumption and maintenance of the streetlights. The savings would be used to finance the purchase and retrofit over a 15-year period.
The member jurisdictions of WRCOG will be purchasing almost 50,000 streetlights and retrofitting them with LED fixtures, which represents one of the largest retrofit projects ever done in the Western United States. Industry experts with decades of experience with streetlights and the evolving technology of LED fixtures provided invaluable information to staff and elected officials when deliberating whether to proceed with the purchase. The City of Murrieta is the first jurisdiction to complete the complex purchase process.
Prior to purchasing the streetlights, the City was paying well over $1 million per year to Southern California Edison (SCE) for electricity and maintenance of the streetlights, and the cost was expected to increase each year. When the City buys and retrofits the streetlights, the amount paid to SCE will decrease significantly because we will be paying less for energy and will not pay SCE to maintain the streetlights.
For example, the City paid SCE about $12.68 per month for a residential, 55-watt, low pressure sodium light. That cost will be reduced to $3.58 per month when the light is retrofitted with an LED fixture, which also includes an administrative support fee and monthly fee paid to our maintenance contractor, Siemens Mobility. With the savings, the City will be able to repay the investment made in the purchase of the streetlights and the retrofit to the new LED fixtures. The investment will be repaid over a period of 15 years.