Modern LEDs to replace old sodium vapor lamps

Taft residents will notice whiter and in some cases brighter light from their streetlights by the fall.

PG&E, with funding from the California Public Utilities Commission, is going to replace the old, dull yellow sodium vapor lamps in its streetlights with new, bright white LED lights.

City Manager Craig Jones said that the utility is already making the light switch in other Kern County cities and will aiming to complete work in the Taft area by the end of October.

There will be a noticeable difference.

For safety purposes, the city will be able to get brighter lights for pedestrian safety on major streets.

"We should be able to increase lighting intensity on some areas we were concerned about -- Kern Street, Fourth Street, Tenth Street and Rails to Trails," Jones said.

There will be ongoing discussions to determine how bright to make the lights in nonresidential areas.

While the actual wattage for the lamps in residential ares may not increase , the white light will be higher contrast, making lit areas at intersections seem brighter and deepening shadows in other areas.

It will take some getting used to after years of dull yellow illumination at night.

"People are not used to white light," Jones said.

There will be measures available if the lights cause problems in residential areas.

For $200, residents can pay for shields to block the rear of the lights if they shine too bright into homes.