Yukon Energy is replacing all of its streetlights in Dawson City and several other communities with energy efficient lights.
In the next few weeks, the utility will begin installing light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights in Dawson, and later in the other communities it serves – Mayo, Faro, Champagne and Mendenhall.
Yukon Energy spokesperson Janet Patterson said the work should be complete “within a couple of months.”
“Switching to LED streetlights will mean lower power bills for those rural communities we serve and is a better choice for the environment,” said Yukon Energy President Andrew Hall in a news release.
According to the release, LED streetlights cost $184 each, compared to $240 for traditional high-pressure sodium lights.
LED lights are also supposed to last for 25 years, compared with just four years for traditional lights.
Yukon Energy has run a couple of pilot projects to test the LED lights in Dawson and Mendenhall over the last five years. The results showed that LED lights use half as much electricity as traditional lights, which should result in a savings of $29 per light each year. In Dawson, that means annual savings of almost $5,000.
Patterson said the project should reduce the power consumed by all five communities by about 130 megawatt hours per year. That’s equal to the power used by 12 average Yukon homes in a year.
Patterson said most residents were pleased with the LED lights during the pilot projects.
“The vast majority said they really liked the quality of the lights.”
She also said that LED lights produce lower levels of light pollution than traditional streetlights. LED streetlights shine in a specific direction, so they don’t produce a hazy glow at night.
The cost of switching out the Dawson streetlights is estimated at $50,000. Patterson said the full cost for all the communities will be between $100,000 and $120,000.
The Yukon government also offers residential customers $7 rebates on packages of LED lights through its inCharge program.