By Charles Sercombe
DTE Energy is not yet through with upgrades to some of the city’s street lights.
The company will be swapping out light fixtures on most of Jos. Campau with LED lights, which will end up saving the city about $16,000 a year in energy costs.
If that sounds familiar, well, it is. Last year DTE also performed an upgrade on street lights along Jos. Campau and Holbrook.
Emergency Manager Cathy Square said she recently met with DTE officials about reducing the city’s annual lighting cost, and she said DTE came back with an upgrade plan.
DTE said the cost of the project will be $170,000, out of which Hamtramck has to kick in $19,000.
But Square said the savings in energy will just about “make it a wash.” And better yet, the city will continue to save money going forward. The cost of lighting Jos. Campau will go from $30,000 a year to $14,000.
“It’s little things like this that saves the city money,” Square said.
Besides getting a break on costs, the new lights will no longer be connected to one another “like Christmas tree lights, where if one goes out all of them do,” Square said.
Instead, if one light goes out, it does not affect the others.
The overall cost for street lighting is about $500,000 a year, Square said. She hopes to further trim that cost by reducing the number of street lights throughout town. She said Hamtramck has too many street lights for a city this size.
The upgrade will require DTE to shut off the lights for up to about a month, once the project is underway. There was no start date given for the work.
In other related lighting news on Jos. Campau, the city-owned street lights that were installed by the DDA, from Holbrook to Caniff, have been turned back on. The lights have not been working for over a year.
Square said it was a lack of maintenance.
“Money was being spent on salaries and benefits instead of making repairs,” she said.
Square recently let go the DDA manager and transferred that job to the new director of Community & Economic Development.