Shelburne Selectboard allocates $9K in ARPA money toward streetlight audit

The existing lampposts on Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls. The Selectboard has allocated $9,100 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for an industrial audit of the town’s streetlights to prepare for the possibility of buying the lampposts and fluorescent bulbs from Eversource, and switching them to energy-saving LEDs.

The existing lampposts on Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls. The Selectboard has allocated $9,100 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for an industrial audit of the town’s streetlights to prepare for the possibility of buying the lampposts and fluorescent bulbs from Eversource, and switching them to energy-saving LEDs. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By BELLA LEVAVI

Staff Writer

Published: 09-13-2023 2:51 PM

SHELBURNE — The Selectboard has allocated $9,100 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding for an industrial audit of the town’s streetlights to prepare for the possibility of buying the lampposts and fluorescent bulbs from Eversource, and switching them to energy-saving LEDs.

Buying the lampposts and light bulbs, the Energy Committee has attested, would be cheaper for the town in the long run and would allow for more customizable lighting. Alternatively, Shelburne could accept Eversource’s plan to install 30-watt LEDs.

Under Eversource’s plan, the town would reduce its electric usage by 30,500 kilowatt hours per year — saving $5,347 annually on its electricity bills. Eversource also charges the town a “rental fee” for use of the lights at about $8,280 per year. According to the Energy Committee, if Shelburne decides to buy its streetlights from Eversource, the town would save about $6,000 more, equating to between $10,000 and $11,000 worth of savings annually.

To prepare the town for this potential purchase, the Energy Committee asked the Selectboard to hire a consultant to perform an audit of the streetlights. On Monday night, the Selectboard approved funding to hire RealTerm Energy. This audit will involve creating a GPS map of the streetlights, establishing the LED replacement inventory, conducting an operating cost savings analysis, predicting project costs and exploring capital purchase options.

Of the companies the Energy Committee spoke with that could perform the audit, Chair Tom Johnson said RealTerm Energy offered the most affordable option. Johnson noted this project does not require a request for proposals (RFP) process.

With this ARPA money allocated, Selectboard member Andrew Baker said the town has about $10,000 in ARPA funds left. Previous allocations include $10,000 toward putting a pocket park on the site of the former Singley Furniture shop at Bridge Street and Deerfield Avenue, and roughly $34,100 to buy a generator for the Police Station.

Potential new committee

Also at Monday’s meeting, Selectboard Chair Robert Manners suggested creating a separate committee from the Energy Committee that would continue spearheading the streetlight project.

“The Energy Committee is designed for energy, and this project coming forward, [we could] put that in a separate hopper, as you would say, and they could provide oversight and guidance,” he proposed.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Greenfield restaurant to be featured on America’s Best Restaurants
Where the food is smokin’ good: Crazy Horse Bar and Grill in Charlemont serves up pub food and more with flair
Greenfield’s Asa Bouchard competing for Team USA in Prospects by Sports Illustrated Hockey World Cup
GCC union votes ‘no confidence’ in president, provost
Retired Montague officer, state trooper commended for 2022 fire response
Franklin Tech hires aviation instructor

Selectboard member Richard LaPierre said this may be a good idea because making the switch would be a big project that would take six to eight months to complete.

Johnson, too, supported the idea of a new committee.

“Having more people involved in this very important activity in the town would be really appreciated,” he said.

Selectboard members will identify people to join the new committee and vote on its creation at their next meeting.

Bella Levavi can be reached at 413-930-4579 or blevavi@recorder.com.