OLEAN, NY — The city has partnered with National Grid to convert 1,300 streetlights to LEDs, which will deliver long-term cost and energy savings. The changeover represents the largest such LED streetlight conversion completed by National Grid in Cattaraugus County.

Olean’s streetlights were retrofitted as part of National Grid’s Streetlight Conversion Program, which enables communities to switch from high-pressure sodium lights. The conversion was part of the city’s Walkable Olean project, which focused on pedestrian safety improvements, streamlining traffic patterns and resurfacing busy streets. In 2019, National Grid supported Walkable Olean through a $100,000 economic development grant, which was used to offset costs related to safety, traffic and resurfacing enhancements along Olean’s main commercial corridor.

“This is a great program offered by National Grid that all communities should take advantage of,” Olean Public Works Director Bob Ring said. “Lowering your street lighting bill, while receiving an incentive to do so is a no-brainer. The City of Olean converted all 1,300 streetlights in the city and received a $70,000 incentive. The program was seamless and well-informed, and our community has embraced LED lighting.”

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LEDs have no filament, produce less heat, require no warmup period to reach full brightness, and make it easier for motorists and pedestrians to recognize objects.

“Visually, LEDs produce a distinctly whiter, brighter light compared to the yellow hue cast by traditional high-pressure sodium lights,” National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa said. “When working with us, municipalities often consider this difference when specifying which lights are to be converted, particularly in situations where LED and high-pressure sodium streetlights may be on the same street or in close proximity.”

Since launching its LED Streetlight Conversion Program in 2018, National Grid has converted nearly 40,000 streetlight fixtures to cleaner, greener LEDs, and awarded $2.3 million in incentives to municipalities that made the change. All total, the new LED fixtures saved upstate New York municipalities 18,210 megawatt-hours, or the equivalent of average energy consumed annually by 1,660 U.S. homes.

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