The future is brighter around Bluebonnet’s service area, thanks to new LED security lights we started offering our members Sept. 1. Members will now get 53-watt LED (light-emitting diode) security lights instead of 100-watt high-pressure sodium lights.
LED lights are used in digital clocks and watches, to transmit signals from remote controls to televisions and other electronic devices and to let us know when our appliances are turned on. Recently, they’ve been used in traffic lights, Christmas lights and in the enormous video displays in sports stadiums. They’re now becoming more common in security lights.
“We have been watching the evolution of LED security lights for several years,” said Matt Bentke, Bluebonnet’s chief operating officer. “Because the technology has progressed and the cost has come down, we’re able to offer LED security lights at a very reasonable rate. LED lights use less energy, cost less to maintain and put out a more appealing light. They’ll also reduce light pollution in neighborhoods and especially in rural areas where folks need security but also want to see dark skies and bright stars.”
For about $10 per month, our members get a security light and we will take care of maintenance. Half of our 28,000 security lights are mercury vapor lights and the other half are high-pressure sodium lights. Mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium security lights last about 25 years, but have bulbs and photo cells that need to be replaced about every five years.
LED security lights are the next evolution in technology. They have light-emitting diodes instead of bulbs. When the LEDs fade, the entire security light is replaced with a new one. LED security lights are expected to last about 15 years.
Fifty-three watt LED security lights use about 240 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. One hundred watt high-pressure sodium lights use about 540 kilowatt hours per year; 175-watt mercury vapor lights use about 900 kilowatt hours per year. LEDs cast a whiter light, which appears brighter than the yellow-toned high-pressure sodium bulbs.
Bluebonnet will install LEDs for new security light requests. If the light is on the same pole as the member’s meter or transformer, or within one pole of the transformer, there is no fee to install the security light. The member just pays the monthly rate. If the location doesn’t have a meter or transformer, there is a one-time installation fee in addition to the monthly rate.
We will continue to replace high-pressure sodium bulbs and photo cells when they fail. When high-pressure sodium and mercury vapor light fixtures break they will be replaced with LED security lights at no charge to the member.
Members who have a working mercury vapor or high-pressure sodium light but want a new LED security light can pay a one-time $125 fee in addition to the monthly security-light rate.
We will continue to install 250- and 400-watt high-pressure sodium lights in commercial parking lots and along roads. The co-op will switch to higher power LED when the technology and cost makes them comparable to higher power high-pressure sodium lights. Our rate for a 250-watt high-pressure sodium security light is about $15 per month. The rate for a 400-watt high-pressure sodium security light is about $20 per month.