"I'm a real live wire and I never tire"
-- Reddy Kilowatt
A municipal Public Works Department bears the responsibility of managing the culinary water, sanitary sewer, roadways and related subsystems. Some cities even provide electricity for their residents.
Although the majority of communities along the Wasatch Front rely on Rocky Mountain Power to provide electricity to residential homes, residents are generally unaware that the street lighting (fixtures, poles, and wiring) is also constructed, owned and maintained by the utility, although the city purchases the power to illuminate them.
To help reduce the cost to the taxpayer to provide this service, municipal governments in the state have been active in their approach to being energy efficient and are negotiating with power company officials on an option to create city-owned street lighting systems. Over time, this would replace antiquated lights and fixtures with more modern, cost-saving products.
Layton city, for example, has adopted a new street-lighting system. This occurred when the Layton Parkway interchange with Interstate 15 was being built.
Utilizing funds that had been set aside by the Utah Department of Transportation for the installation of large, cobra-head light poles along the Parkway and down Main Street, city staff designed a lighting system that included aesthetically pleasing poles and fixtures with energy-efficient lighting, complete with warranties.
Staff also adopted new illumination standards for arterial, collector and residential streets. The cost savings is substantial and not only includes the price of electricity, but also the maintenance of the system.
The new fixtures, equipped with both LED and induction lighting, have a 20-year design life, which equates to less time needed to service them. They also provide a means to display banners, which enhance any business community.
Some communities have adopted ordinances requiring new residential and commercial development to purchase and install lighting that is owned and maintained by the city. By owning its own poles and fixtures, a municipality eliminates service and rental fees, paying only for the electricity.
A community's website is a good location to view its street-lighting standards and can usually be found under Engineering Standards -- Public Works Engineering.
Steve Curtis has worked as a business consultant and communications specialist. He is currently mayor of Layton. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.