EAST HELENA – NorthWestern Energy is in the early stages of a four-year program to replace existing streetlights with energy efficient LED lights. Residents of East Helena will soon notice a change as NorthWestern Energy is in the process of replacing 219 streetlights.
The biggest difference residents will notice is the color of the light. The new LED lights will be more of a white light versus a yellow color.
LED streetlights use about 50% less electricity than traditional high-pressure sodium lights and last two to three times longer.
Howard Skjervem, the Community Relations Manager for NorthWestern Energy, says the LED lights they are using for the City of East Helena are dark skies friendly, which means the LED’s are underneath the hood of the light, so the light will go down instead of going up into the sky.
"They use less than 50% of the energy,” says Skjervem. “So for East Helena in their 219 lights they'll save over $7,000 a year through energy conservation. And they are getting the same amount of light coming out."
NorthWestern Energy will be changing out 43,000 lights across the Treasure State between 2019 and 2022. The statewide project is expected to cost $24 million. The cities will not be paying for that cost up front it is coming up out of NorthWestern Energy's capital budget.
They have already started replacing some of the lights throughout the city and hope to have all the lights changed by the end of the month.