Kennebunk residents are being asked to take an evening drive to West Kennebunk to view two light poles that are displaying different wattages of streetlights and then provide feedback. The town is considering changing about 800 or 900 of the  1,100 streetlights in the community to a different type to save money and promote energy efficiency. Courtesy Photo

KENNEBUNK — The town’s Energy Efficiency Committee is asking residents to drive through West Kennebunk after dark and take a good look at two demonstration streetlights — at poles 142 and 144, near house numbers 321-339 — and then give them some feedback by Nov. 30.

The Energy Efficiency Committee is looking for comment because they’re asking the town to consider changing most of the current street lights to ones designed to save money and provide a less intrusive type of light. The proposed light emitting diode, or LED lights, accomplishes the goal of lighting the way, and doing so with a type of warm amber hue that doesn’t cause “spillage,” which means it is designed and positioned to avoid lighting private property.

Pole 142 has a light that is equivalent to the lowest wattage installed in town, and Pole 144 has the equivalent of the highest wattage. They’re scheduled to remain in place through Nov. 25.

“Compared with our current high pressure sodium system, all of the proposed fixtures we evaluated will provide a mellower, but clearer, sharper light to better protect pedestrians, cyclists and motorists,” said EEC Chair Sharon Staz.

The demonstration lights are different than the first generation LED lights installed downtown about 10 years ago. Staz noted those lights were brighter and emitted a white and somewhat blue light. When first installed, they emitted a 90-watt light, but were later turned down to 70 watts, she said.

The lights under consideration will emit an amber light and has a different footprint, she said, shaped much like a football. The streetlamps will light the street, sidewalk and bicycle paths. Staz said the back light is limited to two feet from the pole.


The committee began looking into how to decrease Kennebunk’s carbon footprint when the Paris Climate Agreement started to fall apart, Staz said. Kennebunk joined with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy last year.

At last inventory, taken about six years ago, Kennebunk had about 1,100 streetlights. They’re looking at replacing 800 to 900 of them, said Town Manager Michael Pardue. The decorative lights downtown would remain.

The cost of replacement was not available — the EEC is poised to ask selectmen to request proposals for new lights, which would be owned by the town and operated and maintained by Kennebunk Light & Power District, as the current lights are.

Depending upon the type and number of fixtures installed, it is estimated the town could save between 47 and 52 percent of the cost of providing the lights, which equates to a $40,000-$50,000 reduction in the cost to taxpayers annually, based on current KLPD rates. The EEC is recommending that the town use the savings to pay for the installation and purchase of the new fixtures. It is estimated the payback would take about 3 to 5 years.

The town is looking at requesting proposals by the end of November, with a view for responses in mid- to late-December, Pardue said. Selectmen would review the responses and decide if they wished to accept them and if affirmative, would incorporate the figures into a budget proposal. Kennebunk voters cast ballots on annual budgets in June. If approved, installation could begin by the fall of 2020.

Some other communities, South Portland, Portland, Yarmouth, Falmouth and Wells have already made the switch.

Kennebunk has gotten a handful of favorable comments on the demonstration lights, so far, Pardue said.

People can send their comments to:; or use the online feedback forum on the Town’s Website, the Community Voice at:

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