Bulbs will be brighter, whiter than old sodium vapor lamps
Streetlights in Taft, Ford City, South Taft and Taft Heights are being changed out as the old yellow sodium vapor lamps in its streetlights are replaced with new, bright white LED lights.
"We expect to be converting a sizable grouping of Kern County lights in and around Taft starting early to mid-next week," PG&E told Taft City Manager Craig Jones in an email last week. There are an estimated 460 streetlights in the city alone. That means there are a lot of lights to change, but the process of replacing the old with the new is relatively quick. PG&E said the contractor hired to make the change, Advanced Lighting, will have three or four trucks working on the Taft area project and the switch is simple -- replacing only the bulbs -- takes about 5 minutes per light. The new bulbs will be brighter than the old one, a big plus for pedestrian safety. "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 in June when the project was announced. Just how bright to make the lights in residential neighborhoods is another matter. 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 brightly into homes.