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Outdoor Light Rate Options
In 2010 the New Hampshire Legislature authorized a new outdoor light rate options for municipal and government agencies. The new rate option is called “Midnight Service.” The new rate took effect July 1, 2010 and has been available beginning January 1, 2011. An important point to remember is that enrollment is limited to two months per year – January and February so for this year (2011) the enrollment period is already ½ over. The point person for this effort at PSNH is Elizabeth LaRocca, the Southern Division Customer Relations Manager. There’s a timing issue to consider for the new rate (and for another rate the Town should consider called “Energy Efficient Lighting”) in addition to the enrollment. PSNH depreciates its equipment over a several year period and replaces light bulbs, light fixtures, and photocell sensors on a regular basis.

The new rates often require installing new or replacement equipment. The midnight rate option, for example, requires a new Photocell that turns off the light at midnight. If the photocell is scheduled to be replaced anyway, then PSNH does not charge the customer to install the new sensor. If not, then PSNH will charge the Town $160 to install a new sensor that is required for the midnight rate. PSNH has a log of all the outdoor streetlights and area lights in Sandown and should be able to work with the Town on a replacement schedule to upgrade to the Midnight and Energy Efficient rates. The other consideration with potential outdoor light rate changes is to reassess the level and quality of light required.

The existing light levels may be excessive and may benefit more from a combination of delamping, a single timer that controls all the lights, and converting from an outdoor area light rate to a direct meter read rate. In addition, many towns in New England have adopted “Dark Sky” bylaws. A review of potential outdoor lighting changes should include a quick assessment of potential opportunities to install “Dark Sky compliant” lighting fixtures. At a minimum the review should assess opportunities to minimize excessive light glare for pedestrians, motorists, and affected by the existing and proposed lighting.

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