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Blinded by the LED light: Complaints in town; city consensus to keep streetlamps for public safety

'I’d feel bad if we took out a light, and some kid got hurt'

New LED lighting through Grangeville has some complaining it is too bright, ruins nighttime ambiance.

Photo by David Rauzi
New LED lighting through Grangeville has some complaining it is too bright, ruins nighttime ambiance.



— Look on the bright side? Some residents would prefer to stay out of the light.

On Monday, May 7, the Grangeville City Council discussed concerns they’ve been hearing and that have also been coming into city hall on the brightness of streetlamp LED lighting.

“Their porch, it’s like daylight,” said councilor Pete Lane, relating the story one couple told him of how LED street lighting has illuminated their property, essentially ruining their summer evenings sitting outside. City clerk Tonya Kennedy also commented on complaints her office has received on the brightness of LED lighting, with one person stating, “It makes the town feel unfriendly.”

“Anytime they go out, they’re replaced with LEDs,” she explained on the lights, which are the responsibility of Avista. “LED is the only replacement option.” In her discussion with Avista, she was told that a tipped fixture can affect the light, and the company is willing to look at streetlamps of concern to see whether this may be an issue.

Another option would be to remove the streetlamp entirely, one which Mayor Wes Lester said the council needed to be on board with in opposing. General council consensus was the lights are important for public safety and in deterring crime.

“I’d feel bad if we took out a light, and some kid got hurt,” said councilor Beryl Grant. “It doesn’t make sense.”

In 2015, Avista began a five-year plan to replace nearly 30,000 company-owned 100- and 200-watt streetlights with energy efficient LED lights. When complete, annual energy savings are estimated to be 3.1 megawatts each night – enough energy to power about 2,300 homes. Along with efficiency, the LED lights are estimated to last two to three times longer than the sodium lights being replaced, and require less maintenance. Energy cost savings should result in lower streetlight rates that benefits city ratepayers.



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