The planned installation of LED streetlights in Jackson Township, New Jersey, has been met with resistance from the local utility, Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L). The township applied for and received an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) award of $464,500 from the U.S. Department of Energy and intended to begin a large scale installation of LED streetlights. The project has been tabled while city officials negotiate with JCP&L, a division of First Energy Corp., an investor owned utility.
A complicated rate structure based on installation and ownership of streetlight fixtures, lamps and poles further complicates the situation in Jackson Township. JCP&L does not currently offer a tariff for LED streetlights. According to Jackson Township officials, an attempt to resolve the situation is ongoing with both the utility and the New Jersey State Board of Public Utilities.
“We are frustrated that JCP&L claims that LED streetlight technology is not ready and too expensive,” said Dan Burke, municipal engineer for Jackson Township, “We have seen successful installations and multiple case studies that state something different.” Burke says that he was willing to work with the utility to make the project successful. City officials also face ongoing frustration with the lack of an accurate streetlight inventory from JCP&L. Burke estimates that Jackson Township has about five thousand streetlights.