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Binghamton mayor seeks to convert street lights, replace ‘aging’ water meters

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

BINGHAMTON — The city of Binghamton is seeking proposals to convert municipal street lights to light-emitting diode (LED) technology and to replace its “aging” water meters.

Binghamton Mayor Richard David made the announcement in a news release May 27, citing an attempt to save taxpayer dollars.

When implemented, these two projects could lead to “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in annual savings, David’s office contends.

Binghamton in 2013 spent nearly $1.5 million on energy expenses, including more than $500,000 on street lighting, according to the release.

The energy savings in converting about 7,000 street lights to LED bulbs will offset the installation costs, estimated at $4 million, David’s office said. Switching to LED technology will result in fewer bulb replacements.

Using LED technology in all street lights will brighten the city and “enhance” overall public safety, David contends.

“One of the primary concerns I hear from residents is that downtown and neighborhoods appear dim and dark even when the street lights are on. Residents will notice an immediate difference after LED bulbs are installed. It will be a much more inviting atmosphere for residents, visitors and businesses,” David said.

LED street lights shine “six to seven times brighter” per watt than Binghamton’s current street lights, according to the release.

David’s office is also seeking a second proposal to replace more than 14,000 municipal water meters, a project estimated to cost about $7 million. Savings from “more accurate” water-use metering, fewer resources reading meters, and a “sophisticated” leak-detection system will cover the costs, it contends.

David’s office will also pursue grant opportunities that assist municipalities with green-energy initiatives through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and other institutions.

David’s initiative follows his announcement about an audit and survey of the city’s energy-service accounts to recover refunds for past billing and meter-read errors.

Identifying “inefficiencies” in daily operations is a “central part” of a strategy to save taxpayer money, David said. “The city’s energy costs are significant and are on the rise each year. The two sustainable energy projects I am proposing will allow the city to cut annual costs through reduced maintenance and lower energy consumption.”

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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