Springfield, Eversource officials discuss possible solutions for broken streetlights

Broken streetlights have been a problem in Springfield and on Tuesday, city leaders and Eversource tackled the issue in an effort to find possible solutions.
Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2022 at 6:29 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Broken streetlights have been a problem in Springfield and on Tuesday, city leaders and Eversource tackled the issue in an effort to find possible solutions.

As the seasons change, the dark autumn sky begins to cover western Massachusetts neighborhoods earlier and earlier. Meanwhile several Springfield streets remain black due to an ongoing problem with broken streetlights. It’s something that has many people in the city concerned.

“October is here. That means that the sun is going to go down sooner, our children are going to be walking home in the dark,” said Springfield City Clerk Gladys Oyola-Lopez.

On Tuesday, Springfield city councilors held a meeting with Eversource, along with the city’s Department of Public Works, to discuss the ongoing safety issue. Eric Falcon, manager of electric operations for Eversource, explained that with daylight hours beginning to dwindle the company has been putting a lot of emphasis and resources into repairing broken streetlights in Springfield, but he said some projects are easier than others.

“While a lot of these issues are fairly simple and straight forward, they may be a bulb replacement, there are a significant number that require a further effort. Specifically, I know a few on Main Street in Indian Orchard are issues with underground wiring that require excavation and investigation,” Falcon noted.

Springfield DPW Director Chris Cignoli said that the reason for the large number of broken streetlights in Springfield comes down to outdated infrastructure, which led to the cities’ long-term solution. Come January 2023, the city plans to begin a multi-year project to replace all of the city’s street lights with new led fixtures.

“They’re going to run into neighborhoods where when they start to do this work. It’s going to take a lot longer not because of retrofitting, but because of wiring, they have to do,” Cignoli said.

The plan, as of right now, is to begin the project after January 1. Eversource and Springfield DPW predict it will take about five years to complete.

According to Cignoli, the city of Springfield has about 14,500 streetlights and they hope to switch out about 3,000 fixtures per year. Cignoli also said the city has about 200 street lights that have already been replaced with LED fixtures since they were unable to be repaired due to old wiring.

How much will this cost the city? Cignoli said they anticipate the city will be paying Eversource roughly the same amount as in previous years. He explained that, right now, the city pays Eversource a flat fee of just over $3 million per year that equates to about $230 per streetlight for maintenance fees each year and he said hopefully, over time, the LED fixtures will help to reduce maintenance costs for the city.

In the meantime, if you do see a broken streetlight, you are asked to report the outage to Eversource.