A light bulb switch is happening for streetlights in Thompson

In 2013 Manitoba Hydro used Thompson as a test location for new LED (light-emitting diode) energy-efficient streetlight bulbs. The company installed nine bulbs, and to this day they’re still kicking, and haven’t burned out.

Since the bulbs were a success, as part of the Power Smart initiative and Manitoba Hydro’s efforts to improve energy efficiency the company has now started a project to replace all high-pressure sodium bulbs with these LED’s.

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Scott Powell of Manitoba Hydro says there are many benefits for doing this. “These are considerable more energy efficient and they actually throw a much whiter light than the typical yellow orange you see from high-pressure sodium. These are a much cleaner light, and they have improved lighting characteristics with less glare. They will provide better light which will be a safety benefit for drivers and pedestrians.”

Powell continued by saying the bulk of the project started this spring, and will be finished in four years. To date 6,500 bulbs around Manitoba have been replaced, and throughout this fiscal year a total of 35,000 will be changed. In Thompson the retrofit replacement started the first week of August and by Sept. 15, Powell says they will have replaced 2,700 lights.

The new lights will have a longer street life and they’ll help reduce maintenance costs for the company and the amount of electricity the province of Manitoba uses annually.

The new lights will be flatter, as streetlights now have more of a dipped lens facing the roadways. Power Smart is funding this project with a price tag of $40 million. The high-pressure sodium bulbs being replaced will be disposed of, says Powell.

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