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Not Everyone Welcomes Houston’s New LED Streetlights

The city is in the process of switching all of the city’s streetlights to more energy-efficient LED lights, but some say they are too bright.

Debbie Moran in front of a light pole
Meyerland resident Debbie Moran stands in front of an LED streetlight in her neighborhood.

If it goes according to plan, CenterPoint will have switched over all of Houston’s 176,000 streetlights by 2019.

The company says LED lights use 50 to 60 percent less energy and last much longer than traditional light bulbs.

But Debbie Moran, of Meyerland, still has a problem with them.

“They are very intrusive,” Moran said. “Common refrain has been, ‘These look like the aliens have landed. They look like there’s a film set in front of our house.’ The intensity is very high.”

Moran has lobbied against the new lights since the city struck a deal for the conversion with CenterPoint in May of last year. She wants the power company to use warmer LED lights that would use even less energy.

Moran points to Davis, California, where the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to change the new bright lights back to warmer ones.

Council member Jack Christie agrees with Moran and says he has approached the public works department about it.

“If you can still get enough brightness in the neighborhoods by paring it down, it makes sense to do it now,” he said.

Alicia Dixon, a spokeswoman for CenterPoint, said the lights the company is using are the industry standard and make up 90 percent of LED lights being produced.

So far, CenterPoint has installed more than 44,000 of them in Houston.

Meanwhile, some of those who didn’t have any lighting on their street don’t mind.

Kristin Landry has a bright LED streetlight right outside her house in Meyerland.

 “We have one in the back of our house, too, that shines in, and so I think we’re just used to it, so it doesn’t really bother us at all,” Landry said. “I’d rather have the light than not have a light.”

Neighbors on her street complained about not having street lighting and got three brand new poles a couple of years ago.

View the City of Houston’s LED light deployment map

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Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Business Reporter

Florian Martin is currently the News 88.7 business reporter. Florian’s stories can frequently be heard on other public radio stations throughout Texas and on NPR nationwide. Some of them have earned him awards from Texas AP Broadcasters, the Houston Press Club, National Association of Real Estate Editors, and Public Radio...

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