In May of 2008, we made a presentation to a group of municipalities in Northwest Indiana. We were engaged to represent them in front of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in the NIPSCO base rate proceedings, causes 43526 and 43969. The final cause, 43969, was concluded with a final order in December of 2011. As part of the final settlement, we received modest funds to put toward energy saving initiatives.
In 2012, a vendor selling light fixtures visited one of the members of our Municipal group with the offer of changing out the lighting in the parking lot of Town Hall. The vendor’s offer was to put up LED lighting and to charge the Town only if the lights were still burning a year later. His call to our firm led to contacting the Energy Efficiency and Reliability Center (EERC) on the Purdue University Calumet Campus. Armed with advice from the head of the Center that the fixtures being offered were old generation with defects, our client declined the offer.
This, however led us to an initiative by this group to seek out optimal lighting technology that the group would share among themselves.
About that time, NIPSCO initiated a program that allowed it to proceed with a 7-year capital improvement plan. Our group approached NIPSCO and asked that it include consideration of changing out the 30 year old lighting fixtures throughout their system from High Pressure Sodium (HPS) to Light Emitting Diode (LED). Our firm, at the behest of the group, hired Dr. Robert Kramer and Purdue University to assist NIPSCO and our group in seeking out optimal fixtures and installation methods and costs.
Commencing in the 3rd quarter of 2016, NIPSCO began changing out all their lights to LED. All the group members will have their fixtures owned by NIPSCO changed over to LED Lighting. Later this year, our group will commence changing out the lights they own, and will be deploying optimal fixtures at a reasonable installation rate.
Why LED? This technology uses 40-50% of the energy of the HPS lighting, and has a 10 year warranty while HPS lights have bulbs with 6 year lives, accelerated light loss and much higher maintenance.
By working together, our group is helping to change out approximately 50,000 light fixtures from HPS to LED, while lowering the annual bills of our group by more than 31%.