PSO converting nearly 1,800 city street lights to LED

·2 min read

May 27—How do you replace 1,798 McAlester street lights? One light at a time.

That's what Public Service Company of Oklahoma crews are in the midst of doing during a project to upgrade every single street light in the city to an LED conversion.

"We're replacing them throughout our system," said Wayne Green, of PSO Corporate Communications. "The big change is in the quality of light." The conversion will eliminate the strange, yellow-glowing lights that were in place, he said.

It's designed to brighten roadways, street corners and public spaces for homeowners, drivers and law enforcement. The idea is to enhance visibility for drivers and pedestrians, providing greater appeal and safety while strengthening connections in the community.

"There are two crews are at work," Green said. A third crew is expected to arrive soon in McAlester to assist with the project.

McAlester is the second largest city where the changeovers have started, Green said, following the first one in Bartlesville. "We started there on April 28, he said.

"There are a number of factors in determining what cities went first," said Green, with one of the factors being enthusiasm for the project expressed by the municipal leadership.

Light-emitting diode (LED) streetlights are more efficient and longer-lasting than the high- intensity discharge (HID) lights they replace, PSO said..

"HID lights are an obsolete technology and are being phased out industry-wide. They are becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to find," said Brandon Sirman, PSO customer service manager, in a statement about the project .

Light from LEDs is more focused, with less illumination wasted in the sky, unlike old-technology omnidirectional lights, PSO maintains.

They also take less time to warm up and eliminate the eerie yellow glow of old high- pressure sodium lights, improving night vision efficiency.

"LED lights produce a clearer light that will improve night visibility for everyone," said PSO External Affairs Manager Frank Phillips. "I think our customers are going to be very happy with what they see."

PSO is paying for installation and upkeep on the lights. Municipal funding will pay for the energy use at a discounted rate, PSO said.

Work on the LED conversions is expected to continue for some time.

"The completion date is August," said Green.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.