The City of Salmon Arm has received a refund from BC Hydro for an overpayment for street lights. (File photo)

The City of Salmon Arm has received a refund from BC Hydro for an overpayment for street lights. (File photo)

Salmon Arm gets injection from BC Hydro for street lights

Charges from the electric utility company and number of street lights leased don’t match

The City of Salmon Arm will get a boost from BC Hydro by way of a refund for a streetlight over-charge.

The city’s streetlight inventory contains about 870 city-owned lights and 700 BC Hydro lease lights.

Back in 2018, city staff completed a review of BC Hydro lease lights and discovered a discrepancy between the quantity of lights in place versus the quantity invoiced. The discrepancy, which was in the city’s favour, was reported to BC Hydro, which reviewed the numbers and confirmed the finding.

However, further study was required, staff reported to city council on April 26.

“BC Hydro felt a detailed audit was necessary to confirm the discrepancy and allow moving forward with their province-wide LED conversion program. Staff worked with BC Hydro through the audit process with a final resolution being reached in March 2021 confirming that BC Hydro would be refunding the city $75,023.35…,” said a staff report.

Staff recommended using the full refund for LED conversions of lights, which would convert about 20 per cent, resulting in an approximate power saving of $6,500 per year. About 20 per cent of the city-owned lights have already been converted.

Read more: City project to switch downtown Salmon Arm lighting to LEDs

Read more: Salmon Arm’s request for red light camera on Highway 1 draws attention of province

Coun. Debbie Cannon asked if the city is looking at solar-power.

Staff said it is not as effective for street lighting as it requires battery packs.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren said she would support investing in something better for the environment and inquired about solar for city hall. She also asked if there were any other uses considered for the $75,000.

Rob Niewenhuizen, director of engineering and public works, said staff wanted to keep street light refund in the street light budget. He said city hall is on geothermal, so that reduces heat and light consumption.

Coun. Tim Lavery pointed out that a study of three sites was carried out before the city chose the arts centre for solar. He said he thinks the fire hall was second and city hall, third.

Coun. Chad Eliason noted the city has been pushing for LED streetlights from BC Hydro for years.

BC Hydro is currently proceeding with an LED conversion program for all municipalities in B.C., which is expected to take four years to complete. Staff said Salmon Arm is tentatively scheduled to have its converted in the fall of 2021.
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