Xcel Energy replacing city lights with LED bulbs

1,500 lights are being replaced in La Crosse

La Crosse’s city streets will be getting a lot brighter in the next few weeks.

Last year, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved Xcel Energy’s plan to replace 25,000 traditional city street lights with LED ones across multiple communities in Western Wisconsin, including in La Crosse.

The La Crosse area will see 1,500 lights replaced in our area over the coming weeks.

Xcel said it’s a move that will save the city money in the long-run.

La Crosse resident Lynn Holtz enjoys spending time outside.

“I walk a lot. Especially with my dog,” she said.

But the lights designed to keep her street corner safe and well-lit aren’t always so bright.

“I didn’t like walking my dog at night because the light would go off all the time,” said Holtz.

Xcel Energy officials said the current street lights are outdated.

“I would say at least thirty years old, but they burn out, so the technology has been around a long time, they’ve been used for many years and you’ll notice they give a yellowish light,” Mike Herro of Xcel Energy.

It’s why the company is in the process of replacing nearly 1,500 utility-owned fixtures around La Crosse.

“The ones that we are putting in are cut-off fixtures, so they put the light where it needs to be,” said Herro. “They don’t degrade in light quality, so at the end of their useful light quality, they’re still fairly bright.”

Not only will the project update street lighting, they are also more energy-efficient, saving the city money.

“We’re able to replace 100-watt fixtures with much less wattage with these LEDs, so that translates into saves of 2 to 7 percent per month for each municipality,” said Herro.

Officials said to expect a lot of changes with the new lights.

“It’s a very clear light, clear and crisp light,” said Herro. “On the old fixtures, some of that light ended up spilling into yards, these don’t do that as much.”

The light by Holtz’s house has already been replaced, and she’s hoping to enjoy walking her dog.

“I expect to see a difference if I’m out at night in the summer time, because it will be on all the time, I assume,” said Holtz.

Some city-owned street lights around town are not effected from the change.

Xcel is telling those who live along effected street to give about 30 days to adjust to seeing these types of lights on streets, because they do emit a much brighter and more direct light.

Xcel expects to be done replacing all of the fixtures by the first week of June.

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