SHIRLEY -- With the selectmen's okay to purchase the town's 100-plus streetlights from National Grid for the nominal price of $1, the Energy Committee sealed a deal with the utility company that would be finalized within days, Chairman Bryan Dumont told the board recently.
Now that the town owns the streetlights, all of which will be upgraded with LED fixtures, the committee recommends a long-term, annual maintenance plan for their upkeep, Dumont said, and the board agreed.
The first year's to-do list would replace any fixtures damaged by motor-vehicle accidents or weather, as rare as those occurrences are, Dumont said, with new LEDs that replaced standard bulbs guaranteed against mechanical failure in the first year and warrantied for 10 years, minus the cost of labor.
"So we'd need coverage for that," he said.
But National Grid would charge $500 per streetlight to do the work, so the committee sought out other quotes, Dumont said. After comparing the price tags, the committee voted to recommend Groton Electric Light Department as the provider.
The Groton utility company offered "the most cost effective rates," and best turn-around time for responses, he continued, contingent on tending to Groton's needs first if a weather event knocks out lights in both towns.
Groton will charge $180 per hour for standard calls, with a one hour minimum; emergency (nonstorm) calls would be $360; and during a storm, Groton would respond to that town first, then to Shirley, for a $450 rate. A standard, nonemergency, response would be one lineman and one truck, responding within 24 hours of the call. Equipment replacement costs are extra.
The Energy Committee also looked at Wellesley Power & Light and N. E. Utilities in Woburn. Wellesley charges $250 per hour with a six-hour minimun for emergencies or $1,500, and N. E. Utilities charges from $110 to $115 per hour with a three- to four-hour minimum, including travel time.
Dumont said the police chief prepared a list of "critical streetlights" that should be prioritized for repair or replacement in such scenarios, including lights at intersections, the railroad tracks and on Harvard Road near MCI, the state prison.
The selectmen said the Groton-first contingency seemed reasonable and that the price was right. They agreed to enter into a maintenance contract with Groton Municipal Electric, whose manager and head foreman both live in Shirley, Dumont pointed out.