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Council discussing buying up numerous city lights from ATCO

Lloydminster City Council discussed buying numerous streetlights across the city as a long term cost saving measure.

At the December 7th GPC meeting, the idea was first presented of buying up 75 streetlights from ATCO, making the city in charge of their running, maintenance and overall upkeep. ATCO would still provide the electrical services.

Buying up the lights would cost the City $30,969.08, with approximately $10,000 in wiring alternations needed for 13 of them and another $10,500 to bring in cost run meters on seven more, which could determine eligibility for lower costs based on demand.

City Administration notes that by buying the lights though, they would save $2,680 a month by not having to pay ATCO to own or maintain the lights.

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Mayor Gerald Aalbers says he thinks its a wise investment, as the saved costs would break even on the purchase within two years.

“We’re going to have to look for some money in reserves to make that happen, if council so chooses, but I think the economics is there. At 23 months [for] payback, I think most business people would grab that pretty much quickly.”

Councilors did have some early contributions to the concept at the meeting. Johnathan Torresan suggested that while many of the new ATCO LED lights still have almost all of their predicted 25 year lifespan still ahead of them, the City could look at gradually putting money aside for replacement costs, which come at $500 per bulb for the streetlights.

“My comment was more around making sure we have something put away at some point, and maybe doing that over time would be good, because they’re likely all going to experience failure, or be end of life cycle at the same time. So, to avoid having a substantial bill at the completion of that, we may have to consider how we’re going to pay for their replacement in the future.”

When it comes to upkeep or repairs, if the City were to buy the lights, they would still have the option of hiring ATCO. Or, as an alternative, they could go to another company that could provide a more cost effective rate.

Councilor Aaron Buckingham says that he would look to provide opportunities for local companies to pick up these jobs if this were to go ahead.

“I think that any time you have a chance for local people to bid on these projects, it’s important. It remains to be seen whether we need to do that, all of these lights were changed over in the last year or so to the LEDs, so it may not be a problem for years to come, but I want to make sure we’re always considering that local factor.”

As this was discussed in a GPC meeting, the idea will be brought back to be further evaluated during a City Council regular meeting.

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