Mass changeout of yard lights to begin

Mass changeout of yard lights to begin

Mass changeout of yard lights to begin this summer

Verendrye Electric members will see more and more crews replacing yard lights this summer as the cooperative ramps up the transition to LED technology.

If a Verendrye crew comes to your residence to replace a light, they will attempt to contact you to let you know what they are doing. If you are not home, they will replace the yard light and leave a door hanger letting you know why they were there.

Verendrye has already changed out hundreds of high pressure sodium and mercury vapor lights to LED lights, but so far most of them were replaced during trouble calls. Around 1,200 were replaced on the Minot Air Force Base.

In any part of our service area, Verendrye will continue to replace old yard lights with new LED lights during trouble calls. But starting this summer, crews will start systematically replacing hundreds of lights whether or not a member calls to report trouble with their old light.

This year, Verendrye will start replacing lights in areas farthest away from their offices. Those areas include Berthold, Des Lacs, Foxholm, Lonetree, Ryder, Lincoln Valley, the radar base, Rangeley and Towner. The changeout is scheduled to be a three-year process and will be completed as time allows. Approximately 1,100 to 1,200 lights will be replaced each year.

“LED lights are much more reliable than high pressure sodium or mercury vapor lights so it makes sense to start replacing the ones farthest away from our offices,” said Engineering and Operations Manager John Westby.

There are no bulbs to change with LEDs. The photo cell - the device that tells the light when it is dark enough to turn on - is more reliable. One of the common types of service calls for yard lights is for malfunctioning photo cells, resulting in lights not coming on when it gets dark. The “smart” LED photocell learns the sunlight patterns throughout the year and programs itself when to turn on and off even if the photocell malfunctions. This feature would eliminate many service calls each year.

Residential lights will be changed to a 150 watt LED equivalent and the monthly rate will be less than the rates members are currently paying for high pressure sodium or mercury vapor lights. The 150 watt equivalent lights will be $7.00 a month. Members who currently have high pressure sodium or mercury vapor lights are currently paying anywhere from $7.50 to $10 a month depending on the wattage. LEDs that are 250 watt equivalent and 400 watt equivalent will be available for commercial applications such as parking lots and street lighting.

LED lights use less energy are more reliable and have a longer lifespan than high pressure sodium or mercury vapor lights. Verendrye has also applied for an energy efficiency grant through the Rural Utility Service to help pay for a portion of the changeover.

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