Monday, June 06, 2005

Mayor V. Speeds Up Energy-Saving Streetlights

Proving more effective in four weeks than his predecessor could be in four years, Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa is looking to the private-sector to install energy-saving streetlights:

Bucking City Hall's past practices, Mayor-elect Antonio Villaraigosa wants a private contractor to install energy-conservation traffic and pedestrian-crossing lights at L.A.'s 4,300 intersections, and to do it in less than half the time city workers could.

Villaraigosa is pushing the proposal after getting the Transportation Committee he chairs in April to recommend Republic Electric of Novato -- which has performed similar work all over the country -- for the two-year, $22.3 million contract over in-house proposals taking up to five years.

The project to replace the current incandescent lamps with the more efficient ones, known as light-emitting diodes or LEDs, will save the Department of Water and Power millions of dollars in energy costs annually.

"The longer we delay this project, the more it will cost DWP ratepayers," Villaraigosa said in a written response to questions, noting Los Angeles County and many other cities converted their traffic lights years ago.

"Our traffic lights are energy guzzlers that cost too much and burn out too fast. LED lights will save ratepayers money and we need to make this conversion as quickly as possible."

The city's conversion efforts have been bungled from the start, four years ago.

Now if they could only synchronize them while they're at it, that's save even more energy!