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Energy-saving LED streetlights being installed in South Fayette

| Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, 11:30 a.m.

Just in time for fewer hours of daylight, South Fayette's streetlights will be brighter.

West Penn Power contractor Harlan Electrical Construction last month began converting 1,408 streetlights to LED. Three crews are working throughout the month with a goal of finishing after Thanksgiving.

“They have a long life span,” West Penn Power spokesman Todd Meyers said. “They can run for 50,000-plus hours. That's a good thing when it comes to maintenance and replacement. You don't have to get out there and change bulbs nearly as often. Crews won't have to put new ones on as much.”

New “cobra head” lights are being installed on top of existing lamp poles, so the entire fixture will not be replaced. As new technology becomes available, the need for stronger illumination is easier, Meyers said.

“In the old lights, there tends to be a lot of spillover,” he said. “The light gets sort of diffuse on the ground. It's not as bright as it hits the ground. With the LED and the new technology, there are ways where they can direct the light in the specific way they want to direct it.

“It is really bright and clear and it's focused to where it's directed. It holds up pretty well. The light actually does look different, because it's so much brighter.”

Similar conversions are happening throughout West Penn Power's coverage area. Most recently, Greensburg underwent a similar project.

Meyers said the new bulbs use a one-third of the energy as the previous ones.

“This is the next wave,” he said. “This kind of technology has been available and it makes sense for towns to start adjusting to it.”

In addition to West Penn Power, Duquesne Light has been replacing streetlights with LED in communities in its service area.

More than 80 streetlights in Sewickley were replaced in 2014 and 2015.

The Duquesne program began in 2014 and replaces about 1,500 streetlights a year, officials have said. More than 50 municipalities were involved last year.

Matthew Peaslee is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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