Bristol selectboard approves energy-efficient streetlighting

BRISTOL — At their Monday, Nov. 19 meeting, Bristol selectboard members approved the Bristol Energy Committee’s recommendation to convert the town’s leased streetlights from metal halide to the more energy efficient light emitting diode (LED) lights.

An assessment by the energy committee had determined that the conversion to the more efficiently powered lighting would save the town $7,190 per year on its electric bills and take 18,000 kilowatt hours of energy off of the electric grid — all at no cost to the town.

It won’t cost the town because Efficiency Vermont will pay Green Mountain Power, the owner of the lights, any outstanding depreciation on the current metal halide lights, after which GMP will be able to move forward with the energy commission's plan to replace them with LED.

Selectwoman Carol Wells also reminded the public to alert the Bristol town office immediately if a streetlight was out.

“The town rents lights on a daily basis,” she said. “If a light goes out we still pay for it … if it’s dark or light, we pay for it.”

In other news from Monday’s meeting, the Bristol selectboard:

•  Voted to put the issue of whether to make Bristol an eligible district for the federal Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program to a vote on Town Meeting Day. The energy committee notified the selectboard that the PACE program, which would assess clean energy loans to borrower’s property, was improved over a previous version that many had believed would have placed undue burdens on towns. The new and improved PACE program had a “significant reduction in town responsibilities,” according to the energy committee presentation, and also had an improved vetting process that would be executed by banks and by Efficiency Vermont.

•  Approved an application for a $5,588 Homeland Security grant by Assistant Fire Chief Brett LaRose for portable radios. LaRose explained that portable radios were “an essential piece of equipment” that would enable daytime personnel to communicate with dispatch, a crucial element of the department’s ability to form plans and respond in a timely manner. At the moment, LaRose said, only officers had portable radios.

Bryant said that while managing a lot of grants can be a “nightmare” for the town clerk, LaRose’s Homeland Security grant was a good grant for important new equipment. No matching funds were required from the town.

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