RALEIGH, N.C. - Duke Energy Progress customers may see some changes in their communities as the utility embarks on a new initiative to modernize outdoor lighting across its service area.
The utility received approval this week from the N.C. Utilities Commission to begin replacing more than 100,000 mercury vapor street and area lights with advanced light emitting diode (LED) fixtures.
The project is part of the utility's Lighting Modernization Program, which seeks to replace mercury vapor fixtures in Duke Energy Progress' North Carolina service area over a two-year period beginning October 2014.
The utility will soon propose a replacement plan for Duke Energy Progress customers in South Carolina. Duke Energy Carolinas has similar efforts underway.
"We've heard from our customers that they want more energy-efficient outdoor lighting options and we want to be responsive," said Emily Henson, Duke Energy's director of Outdoor Lighting. "This initiative will bring advanced LED lighting to many of the communities we serve. And it will provide positive environmental benefits as we move away from older, less-efficient technologies."
About 25 percent of outdoor lights on the Duke Energy Progress system use mercury vapor fixtures, identifiable by their cool, bluish light. Most of these fixtures were installed decades ago and are nearing the end of their useful life. In addition, advancements in lighting technology and increasingly stringent efficiency standards make mercury vapor lighting largely obsolete.
In developing its mercury vapor replacement strategy, Duke Energy Progress solicited feedback from large outdoor lighting customers, including municipalities. The utility also worked closely with the N.C. League of Municipalities to provide LED technologies at reasonable costs for customers.
"We designed a lighting option that is both efficient and economical," said Henson. "In most instances, there will be no additional cost to the lighting customer as a result of the fixture replacements. Many customers will actually experience a price decrease."
The replacement project will be conducted by geographic regions, with all lights in one location being replaced before moving to another area. This process will minimize the aesthetic impact on local communities and help to ensure work is conducted as safely and efficiently as possible.
Plans call for about 9,000 lights to be upgraded each month.
Duke Energy Progress will work with the N.C. League of Municipalities and affected communities to keep them informed about work schedules and progress.
The utility has also committed to investigate and consider new, more efficient lighting options as they become available in the market, and to share those options as part of the utility's ongoing commitment to serve outdoor lighting customers.
About Duke Energy Progress
Duke Energy Progress, a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), provides electricity and related services to nearly 1.5 million customers in North Carolina and South Carolina. The utility is headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., and serves a territory encompassing more than 34,000 square miles including the cities of Raleigh, Wilmington and Asheville in North Carolina and Florence and Sumter in South Carolina. More information is available at www.duke-energy.com.
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at: www.duke-energy.com.