The Commonwealth Utilities Corp. has so far installed over 1,000 new energy-saving bulbs in major streetlights throughout the CNMI, according to power division manager Gary Camacho yesterday.
This effort is part of the agency's second phase of the retrofitting project that aims to install over 1,000 light emitting diodes, or LED, streetlights on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota. This project was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with grant funds channeled to the Department of Public Works under the guidance of Thelma Inos.
The retrofitting project will replace about 50 percent of the remaining high-pressure sodium streetlights on the three islands.
Prior to the project, some 3,975 streetlights used high-pressure sodium bulbs, according to CUC. These 250-watt bulbs draw 993.75 kilowatts of power, which translates to 4,352,625 kilowatt-hours of energy per year.
All HPS streetlights will be replaced with energy-efficient 140-watt LEDs, reducing both streetlight energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
CUC projects an energy savings of up to 44 percent once the installation of LED streetlights is accomplished.
Besides the energy savings, Camacho said the LED lights will also result in improved night visibility, significantly longer lifespan, reduced maintenance costs, instant-on with no run-up or re-strike delays, no mercury, lead or other known disposable hazards, lower environmental footprint, low operating temperature, and no harmful ultraviolet or infrared emissions.
CUC hired Maeda Pacific to retrofit 1,148 HPS streetlights: 812 for Saipan, 133 for Tinian, and 203 for Rota.
“We have completed the retrofitting of the streetlights that were identified on Saipan and Tinian,” said Camacho, adding that the same project is now being done on Rota and is expected to be completed soon.
Camacho said that CUC power crews are also adjusting streetlights in some areas for aesthetic purposes.
He said that “funding for the HPS public streetlights is increasingly becoming difficult as the cost of the fuel and electricity rise.”
He said CUC's revenues continue to be impacted by the high energy consumption of existing streetlights so it is imperative for CUC to continue to identify and implement ways to reduce consumption and operational costs through new technologies such as LED lighting.
CUC is encouraging residents to call the CUC Radio Dispatch at 235-2282 or 235-0282 to report any problems with the newly installed streetlights.