— By BRIAN SMITH
City utility workers are attempting to beautify Weatherford ... one lamppost at a time.
Work on replacing the streetlights at the Greenwood City Cemetery began late last month according to Director of Electric Utilities Joe Farley. Replacing all the lights and poles was done at the same time and is something that will continue throughout the city on a case-by-case basis.
“We are replacing old decorative lights and poles with our new decorative lighting,” Farley said. “This is just standard replacement because we do not have replacements for the existing lights and poles.”
Another reason behind the complete overhaul at the cemetery is the installation of a new citywide street light monitoring system, which the former lights were not compatible with, Farley said. The cost to replace each set of lights and poles will vary depending on the size of the area. The cemetery replacement is costing about $2,000 in material and about $500 for labor, Farley said.
The replacement decorative lighting will only be done as needed, Farley said, for areas such as new subdivisions, Heritage Park and the repair and replacement of existing lights.
The monitoring system was installed and started last November and is about 99 percent complete, Farley said in an email. While deploying the system, the city discovered about 340 of its estimated 2,582 street lights were not being billed, more than half of them at rental properties across the city.
The system has several new capabilities, including having a real time inventory of all lights, being able to turn lights on and off remotely, how many kilowatt hours a light is using and notification when a light is out.
While complete savings of the system are unknown, monies will be saved in the areas of more accurate billing, being able to schedule lights to come on and off at sunrise and sunset, respectively, not needing city patrols to monitor malfunctioning lights and no longer needing to send a crew to turn lights on and off for rental properties.
The cost to implement the program is just under $200,000 with expected utility savings to allow for complete payback within three years, Farley stated in an email.