Over 40 Massachusetts towns are in the process of converting their streetlights to LEDs (energy-sipping light-emitting diodes), and Marion aims to join the list. Our state offers grants to help towns convert old fixtures, which will save us over $18,000 per year in electricity and maintenance costs. In only about 4.3 years, these savings will pay for the conversion, after which the money will go straight to the plus side of the Town’s budget.
At the October 23 Fall Town Meeting, the Energy Management Committee will ask Marion’s residents to support an article that will provide $105,408 to convert our 330 streetlights to LEDs. This initial investment is required to be eligible for the state rebates. Once the conversion is completed, the state will reimburse us about $34,000, leaving approximately $78,000 to be paid back by the savings. Not only will we save money after the pay-back period, but the new LEDs are more reliable, improve visibility, reduce light pollution, and offer “smart” controls such as dimming and remote control.
The Town of Marion now receives a check for about $7,000 each month from Con Ed Solutions, a refund for obtaining our municipal power from wind turbines in Plymouth. So far, Marion has saved about $78,000 from this arrangement. The EMC proposes that these savings be reinvested by paying the up-front costs of the LED conversion program, which will add handsomely to the Town’s energy savings.
Many of our neighboring towns are already taking advantage of this opportunity to save money and have better street lighting: Westport, Bourne, Falmouth, New Bedford, and Middleborough, to name only a few. It’s time for Marion to join this enlightened list. Please come to Fall Town Meeting on October 23 (6:45 pm at Sippican School) and approve Article S3.
Bill Saltonstall and Jennifer Francis
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