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Shining some light on street light confusion in the city

By Joanne Beck


City street light comparison regular to LED
This file photo illustrates traditional street lights, left, versus what the new LED versions will look like once the city of Batavia's LED Street Light Conversion program is completed throughout the city. City management is to close on the purchase of National Grid lights Nov. 16.

There has been some ongoing discussion, debate and confusion online about lights in the city of Batavia: who is responsible for repairing them, replacing burned out bulbs, and whatever happened to that deal where the city was going to replace all of the lights with energy-efficient LEDs?

Some confusion may be justified, as both the city and National Grid have jurisdiction over parts of city street lights, though National Grid seems to have responsibility for the larger section — which it just this week was spotted out and about fulfilling by replacing several burned out bulbs in time for the annual trick-or-treat night.

Hopefully that will not be as much of an issue in the near future, after the city completes what it began in June 2022, to contract for the purchase and replacement of all National Grid street lights and convert them to LED versions. 

“We close on the purchase with National Grid on Nov. 16,” City Manager Rachael Tabelski said Wednesday. “It has been a yearlong process to get to this closing date, that has included multiple administrative steps and approval by the Public Service Commission.  

“Once the sale is complete, Power and Construction Group (P&CG) will begin the light replacement process across the City,” she said. “The LED street lights that we are installing have many benefits and include a 10-year replacement warranty.” 

The city worked last year with the New York Power Authority and its engineering consultant, Wendel Engineers, for the replacement project. The nearly $1.7 million plan (Phase I) has an estimated savings of more than $161,000 annually. 

City Council approved the purchase of 948 street lights at a cost of $226,038, and future replacement of all National Grid street lights in the city. 

The Batavian also reached out to National Grid spokesman David Bertola in an attempt to initially find out about the recommended procedure for burned-out street lights and how many lights were out in the city, and he said it was “difficult to know, as some lights are owned by the city of Batavia, whereas others are owned by National Grid.”

He referred folks to complete an online form to report any street lights with nonworking lights. 

“Damaged street lights can be dangerous” he said, and he also encouraged people to call 1-800-642-4272 to directly report those. 

“Typically, once National Grid is alerted about a non-working street light, a crew will investigate within 24 hours,” he said.  “Repairs are frequently made shortly thereafter.”

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