As both Mayor James Fiorentini and City Council members scramble to find a lighting solution amicable to both residents and the city's budget, more companies providing "lighting solutions" have begun to emerge.
The latest company to market its services to the city is CIMCOM Software of Westford, Mass. They claim their latest invention, a street light automation "intelligent controller" device, would bring significant savings to the city and allow the city to keep on their street lights and aim to prove it by offering the city a relatively inexpensive pilot program.
"We have a plug-and-play technology," said CIMCOM marketing manager Andrew Hebert. "We want to deliver the solution. We'll be able to save you much more than $60,000 and keep your lights on."
Their device would be installed, by the DPW, on top of a number of streetlights throughout the city and would allow the city to control the lights wirelessly via city computers. The city could set their lights under the control of the device to a number of different schedules and timetables that would allow the city to turn on, turn off or dim lights according to their needs. In addition, the devices would also provide the city a Web-based map and feedback system to assist in monitoring their lights.
The drawback, however, is that the city would be limited in installing the devices to the 400 city-owned lights and only to those operating on a metered-billing basis.
CIMCOM, however, is willing to cut a deal with the city since Haverhill would be the first city on the East Coast to make use of its system. Hebert said that CIMCOM currently has contracts with the Virgin Islands, with control of 14,000 lights, and in discussions with Los Angeles.
Fiorentini and the City Council, however, appear willing to take a chance on the company but with the understanding the city will also investigate other companies to work with.
"I don't know we can get enough savings from doing this," Fiorentini said. "We'd look at other options."
City Councilors are equally skeptical.
"Nobody's going to convince me to keep all of (the street lights) on," Councilor Robert Scatamacchia said. "It sounds like a good deal for the city, but there's got to be a cost."
The cost, according to CIMCOM, would be that the city would need to pay for the installation of the devices. Moreover, this initial pilot program would likely encompass about 50 to 100 lights downtown.
Hebert added that each device costs about $100 and would need to stay on a street light for a least a year before any worthwhile returns could be noted by the budget.
Andrew Herlihy, the mayor's chief of staff, repeated to the council that this solution would only work with a limited number of city lights. The average 50-watt bulb currently costs the city between $87 to $120 to keep on annual.
"We'd need to see a significant return," he said.
Herlihy added that the city is in discussions with National Grid at the present time on how to manage lights owned by National Grid.