DTE Energy to upgrade more Port Huron street lights

DTE crew members work on replacing bulbs from light posts Monday, Jan 12, along Pine Grove Avenue and Brandywine Lane in Port Huron. (Andrew Jowett | Times Herald)

DTE crew members work on replacing bulbs from light posts Monday, Jan 12, along Pine Grove Avenue and Brandywine Lane in Port Huron. (Andrew Jowett | Times Herald)

By Tony Wittkowski | City Reporter | The Times Herald

DTE Energy will be replacing another 100 or so Port Huron street lights from late January through the end of March.

As part of its street light-improvement program in Southeast Michigan, DTE Spokesman Scott Simons said the company will be replacing mercury-vapor lights with high-pressure sodium lights along Pine Grove Avenue between Church Street and Simpson Road.

The work is part of DTE Energy’s $3 million investment to improve street lighting service in cities for 2015.

“We worked with the city to identify the lights that they felt needed a change and we went from there,” Simons said. “If they want more upgraded, we are more than happy to work with them.”

DTE Energy will upgrade the older street lights that are energized by “series circuits,” Simons said. These streetlights can be problematic because, like Christmas tree lights, when one lamp goes out other lights on the circuit can be affected.

These upgrades come after nearly 60 lights were replaced in November and December on Fort, Quay, Merchant, Michigan and Bard streets, Glenwood and Grand River avenues and McMorran Boulevard downtown.

Bob Clegg, city engineer for Port Huron, said DTE had planned to replace the Pine Grove circuit in 2015, but moved it up because of recurring problems.

“The majority of lights are owned, operated, maintained and replaced by DTE,” Clegg said. “We pay them a monthly fee for their existence and they decide when to update their infrastructure. We let them know if there are any issues with them.”

Clegg said DTE owns 3,100 street lights in the city. Port Huron owns about 100.

After the upgrades, Simons said the city can expect to see a slight decrease in its lighting bill.

“There’s a small savings there,” he said. “Not as much as LEDs, which can save up to 30 percent, but there will be some savings that I can’t put an estimate on. The lighting will have the same type of brightness, just a lower wattage.”

The change to a parallel circuit is a significant improvement in reliability, Clegg said. If one light is damaged in any way, it does not impact the others.

As for their appearance, Clegg said the upgraded lights will not be any different.

“I think the average person who looks at them wouldn’t tell the difference,” Clegg said. “DTE replaced the lamps and the wiring, so most of the work is underground. The pole is identical.”

DTE Energy workers will not need access to homes, but some digging might be necessary, Simons said.

Anyone with questions regarding the project may contact DTE Energy’s Community Lighting department at (800) 548-4655 or visit dteenergy.com/lights for project status updates.

“When the project begins, residents should expect intermittent lane closures along Pine Grove that will allow line crews to work safely,” Simons said.

Simons said there are no other street lighting upgrades within St. Clair County planned for the near future.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at (810) 989-6270 or twittkowsk@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 13, 2015)

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