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Ouray First in Colorado to go all LED

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Becky Mashburn, Communications Executive
San Miguel Power Association
(970) 626-0212

Ouray, CO - Through joint efforts between San Miguel Power Association, Inc. (SMPA), The City of Ouray, Tri-State Generation & Transmission, the Governor’s Energy Office, and Beta LED, Ouray, CO will officially become the first city in the state of Colorado to have 100% LED street lighting.

Ouray will make a complete transition from mercury vapor street lamps to LED technology before the end of the week. All 101 of the City’s current lights will be converted to LED lights, potentially slashing energy consumption by more than 50%. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 outlawed the manufacturing and importing of mercury vapor lamps after January 1, 2008. As a result, Ouray was faced with an opportunity for change when their aging street lights were on the verge of needing a replacement. That change came in the form of light emitting diodes (LED).

“Energy sustainability begins with conservation, and the change to LED street lights is an ideal opportunity for Ouray to save energy and money,” said Kevin Ritter, SMPA General Manager/CEO.

LED technology has many advantages over traditional light sources, including lower energy consumption and a longer lifespan. LED’s are estimated to last 60,000 hours - 10 to 15 years - which is almost triple that of conventional street lighting. That means fewer replacements, fewer truck runs, less fuel and less overhead for SMPA and City work crews alike. Furthermore, initial calculations show that the city could save up to $6,000 per year in energy savings.

Eager to be a partner in the innovative project, SMPA contributed $15,000. In addition, their wholesale power supplier, Tri-State, also provided matching funds of $15,000. The Governor’s Energy Office has committed $5,000. The Ouray Beautification Committee also provided $15,000 to be paid back over the next 3 to 5 years from the energy savings.

Gary Miller, SMPA Key Accounts Executive, was instrumental in finding the right LED lights for Ouray. Timing was everything for Miller, as he had just returned from a National Lighting Expo when the Mayor of Ouray, Bob Risch, approached him about the
city’s street light dilemma. It was an ideal partnership from the start.

“Ouray was looking for new technology for their street lights and SMPA had the resources they needed,” explained Miller. “In the end, the goal for both of us was to improve the quality of life in Ouray. The LED street lights will save substantial amounts
of money and energy. And that’s good for us all.”

Although LED technology has been in practical use in the United States since the 1960s, the commercial lighting market is still relatively small. There are just a handful of major producers in the United States. In the end, Risch and Miller established a partnership with Beta LED of Wisconsin. Mayor Risch is to be commended for the time and effort he dedicated to the project.

For more information call Gary Miller, Key Accounts Executive, SMPA, (970) 626-5549.
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