An early Christmas gift for Harrisburg: new street lights, and more savings

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Dec 3, 2015 1:41 PM

Photo by Ben Allen/witf

Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley cut a commemorative cake, complete with mini-lampposts, to mark Harrisburg's conversion to LED street lights.

(Harrisburg) -- Just as Christmas lights are going up around the midstate, Harrisburg is flipping the switch on a project that's expected to keep paying off long after the holidays are over.

Bulbs in all the street lights across the city are getting changed out to save money. It'll be out with high-pressure sodium bulbs, and in with LED.

Harrisburg's conversion will cost $3.7 million up front, but Mayor Eric Papenfuse says it will pay off every year.

"We could save somewhere at the minimum end, $500,000 and at the maximum end, $900,000. But enough to easily pay back this project in a short period of just a few years. So it's a real savings," says Papenfuse.

Papenfuse says once the project is paid for, the money that now goes to high electricity bills can be spent on other important initiatives.

"I think it will help deter crime. I think it'll make the city more energy-efficient, it'll make it brighter, it'll make it safer, and it really will serve as a beacon for a positive future for Harrisburg."

Crews are working throughout the city on switching bulbs.

They have already found some street lights that have wiring issues, and have had to make repairs before updating them.

The work is expected to wrap up by April.

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