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Energy Efficient Street Lights Coming to Jackson

LED Replacement, by Ethan Miller, Getty Images
LED Replacement, by Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Hundreds of energy saving Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights could be illuminating the township of Jackson after the conclusion of a long protracted battle with Jersey Center Power and Light (JCP&L).

Jackson Mayor Mike Reina says the Utility has entered a contract agreement with them to install over 500 LED lights using funds from a $464,500 Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG).

Reina explains why he believes JCP&L gave them such a hard time. “The end result was that their bottom line was being affected. They know it’s going to be a cost savings. They know they’re not going to be able to get the same amount of money. It’s all about the end result which is money.”

Reina says with the replacement of the standard street lights Jackson Township Taxpayers will be able to save money in two ways. He says first, the plan calls for the Township to purchase the ‘Cobra Head’ fixtures used to house the LED lamps that go on top of the utility’s polls. He says presently, they pay a $5 dollar monthly fee for each street light to use the utility’s fixtures that house the standard High Sodium Bulbs.

Secondly, he says research shows that LED lights are anywhere from 40% to 70% more efficient than the standard lights they currently used and they have a lifetime usage of up to fifteen years before replacement is necessary.

Reina says their battle began in 2009 when they received the federal block grant. He says Township Engineer Dan Burke changed a single street light at the municipal building to show town officials the difference and JCP&L came the next day and removed the LED light replacing it with the standard one and told them that it was illegal for them to touch the utility’s property.

However, Reina says the federal grant was in danger of expiring.

Reina believes intense news media pressure, which included a televised news story, helped get get the ball rolling in getting the Utility to cooperate with the township. “Naturally it’s not popular to be in the news in the negative side and the last thing we wanted to do is to go negative on everybody but you have to remember, I have a responsibility to the residents of this town and we received a $464,000 grant from the United States Government and I have a Utility Company telling me ‘well, we don’t we have to. I’m sorry, that’s not the way we do business here. The residents, taxpayers, they deserve it and you know I’m going to fight for it.”

Reina says once the agreement is signed in the near future, they can start installing the new lights.

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