Neighborhood nights are about to be brighter and whiter around Hall County as Georgia Power’s lighting upgrade makes its way into residential areas.
About 2,650 lights in Hall County are involved in the utility’s switch from high-pressure sodium lights to LEDs in its LED Roadway Initiative, which started in the county in 2016. Of the lights being switched, 1,800 are in the city of Gainesville and 850 in the county.
LEDs are closer to true white light and are a far cry from the high-pressure sodium lights, which emit the classic orange glow Americans have seen for years. Georgia Power began offering the new lights in 2012, and local governments began switching over in 2014.
Georgia Power’s latest phase of the project will switch about 500 post top lights — those seen along sidewalks in residential areas and close to city centers — around the county, according to Georgia Power spokeswoman Ashley West.
More than 350 sodium lights were changed in the county in 2016, many of them the “cobra head” lights along larger roads like Thompson Bridge Road.
LED lighting costs less to run, lasts longer and spills less noise light onto homes and into the air than conventional public lighting, according to the utility.
Georgia Power will convert about 50,000 streetlights to LEDs statewide as part of the plan ending in 2018.
Almost every municipality in the county will see new residential lighting, according to documents at the Hall County Board of Commissioners work session on Monday. More than 150 of the lights being converted are in Flowery Branch.
Commissioners are set to sign off on Georgia Power’s plan at their Thursday voting meeting.
“The amount of light it puts out and doesn’t spill into the yard is dramatic compared to the old lights — much more visibility down the street,” said Commissioner Jeff Stowe during the meeting.
County Public Works and Utilities Director Ken Rearden said the lights will pay for themselves over their lifetime in energy savings and are being installed free of charge by Georgia Power.