Red Lodge to get LED upgrade

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, October 31, 2019
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Photo by Alastair Baker
(Left) NorthWestern Energy Town Manager Mike Ferguson and Red Lodge Mayor Bill Larson discuss the LED changeover for the street lights along Broadway.

NorthWestern Energy is retrofitting 72 historical streetlights on Broadway Avenue in the historic district in Red Lodge with energy efficient LED lights, along with other streetlights in the town. 

The company is replacing 43,000 streetlights across Montana with efficient LED lights in a four-year project that launched this year.

Red Lodge’s replacement schedule was moved up at the request of Mayor William Larson. 

“Mayor Larson contacted us with concerns about streetlights on Broadway Avenue that are out often, affecting the ambience and safety of the street,” said NorthWestern Energy Community Relations Manager Lisa Perry. “Our crews worked with the city of Red Lodge to create a solution that will use the existing historical poles and globes, retrofitted, with the longer-lasting, more reliable LED lights.”

“It is just a partnership between us getting it altogether. It has been over two years in the making. Our Energy Corp people working for the city have been on top of this a lot,” said Larson.

“We plan to start in a few weeks and work at night as during the day there is nowhere to park,” said Mike Ferguson, NorthWestern Energy Town Manager.

There are already a couple of test lights up. 

“The life of the LEDs is so much better than the metal halide ones, and easier to remove,” said Ferguson. 

The metal halide lights used now in the historic streetlights must be replaced frequently, unlike LEDs that are more energy efficient, and will last longer.

“Before 2020 all the other lights off Broadway will also be fitted with LED lights,” said Larson. 

NorthWestern Energy has been evaluating LED streetlights for several years. Recent price decreases make them more cost effective. Also, manufacturers of current high-pressure sodium products have indicated those products may not be readily available at some point in the future with the increasing popularity of LEDs.