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COOS BAY— The Coos Bay City Council has decided to move forward with an audit of the city’s street light infrastructure, in an effort to upgrade to LED lighting.

The council heard a presentation at Tuesday night's regular meeting by the company Ameresco, which has a program that helps cities convert streetlights to LED lights.

The lights will save the city enough money on electricity bills that they will pay for themselves in the long run, the company told the council. Ameresco installs the lights and the savings the city receives will pay back the cost of purchasing and installation.

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The city spends around $200,000 per year in electricity costs to provide lighting to the city. According to Ameresco’s presentation, the switch to LED could cut that cost by 50 to 60 percent. The company’s preliminary projection for a payback period on the lamps is 11 years.

The city feels that after the lights are paid off, the savings can be put toward road construction and rehabilitation.

The next step includes a complete and detailed on-the-ground inventory of the city's street light infrastructure and audit, which will produce more accurate project costs as well as potential savings. The cost of the audit is $25,000. If a contract is reached, the audit expenses can also be worked into a repayment cost.

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Nicholas A. Johnson can be reached at 541-266-6049, or by email at nicholas.johnson@theworldlink.com.

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