In the article, “One in three councils switch off street lights to save money and energy: Half also make roads darker by dimming bulbs” Ray Massey discusses how 23 towns in England have turned street lights off to save energy costs as well as to reduce light pollution. In a survey conducted by the Consortium for Policy Research and Education titled “Shedding Light”, 9 out of every 10 councils have turned off their street lights to save money on energy but less than half have turned off lights to decrease light pollution. The survey report had 71 councils respond. 23 of which said they completely turned off their street lights between 12 am and 5 am and 32 of which dimmed their lights. Essex County, a country north east of London, has estimated that it will receive a cost savings of 1 million pounds per year by dimming lights.
There is no free lunch
Although towns are expected to see costs savings of hundreds and thousands of pounds by turning of lights at night or converting the lights into dimmer switches, some councils admit that the cost savings may be not apparent for another four of five years since there are high costs associated with installing new lights that need dimmer switches as well as new light control systems. The expensive costs that come with the initial design and cost construction of dimmer switches would be paid for by local taxes.
People respond to incentives
While the initial upfront costs to pay for light dimmers are expensive, local authorities say that a combination of dimming street lights during certain hours and turning lights off completely would significantly reduce energy bills especially during a time when energy prices are continuously rising. This incentive to reduce energy bills would trickle down to not only electric energy providers but also to its paying customers.
Policies always have unintended consequences.
While districts are saving money on energy by turning off or dimming street lights, road