Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Seeing streetlight outages? Report them, PNM urges | Local News

Old worries about burned out and unmaintained streetlights are back in Santa Fe.

Although the city is in the middle of a massive, multi-million dollar project to retrofit more than 5,500 street lights, broken lights that have not been serviced in various parts of the city have left some streets in the dark.

City officials say many of the lightbulbs are the responsibility of the New Mexico Public Service Company until the retrofit project is complete. However, the utility spokesman said PNM needs more information from residents and the city about where the lights are out.

It’s unclear how many of the lights are out – neither PNM, which maintains the lights, nor the city of Santa Fe has the technology to track them – but a new Mexican reporter has driven a number of blocks into town resulted in a number of non-working lights, many south of St. Francis Drive.

These lights are “old lights and up to PNM to fix,” Santa Fe Public Works Director Regina Wheeler wrote in an email.

“The lack of reliability and responsive repair is one reason we made the move,” added Wheeler.

PNM handles all maintenance complaints on all lights, but after a $ 17 million project to convert more than 5,500 street lights into energy efficient lamps, Dalkia Energy Solutions is taking over PNM’s urban light maintenance responsibilities. Dalkia is the company overseeing the conversion project.

PNM plans to start retrofitting its luminaires in 2023.

After the changeover, Dalkia will own and maintain about 60 percent of the lights in the city, while PNM will keep the rest of the lights.

Until the city and PNM complete the major street light renovation project, the utility has no way of knowing if street lights are off unless local residents report them, PNM spokesman Raymond Sandoval said.

PNM is aware of this pitfall.

“If we think there is a problem, it will be a reporting problem,” added Sandoval, urging residents with lights out to call PNM at 888-342-5766 or report the outages on its website at pnm.com/report-an . to report failure.

Sandoval said PNM only had a record of about eight lights across the city on Monday, which will take an average of about 10 days after the repair is reported.

On Wednesday evening, eight lights were out along San Ignacio Road near the San Isidro Apartments alone. Richards Avenue on Cerrillos Road, Jaguar Drive, and Alameda Street also had multiple outages.

The conversion project began on October 18 near the Santa Fe regional airport and has been moving steadily eastward, according to a city website. The project is part of the city’s plan to become climate neutral by 2040.

The project is paid for through energy cost savings. According to the website, the $ 2.75 million project saves the city 2 million kilowatt hours of energy annually.

The remodeling project will include smart technology that will notify Dalkia and PNM when a light needs to be replaced, Sandoval said.

PNM maintains 6,004 street lights in Santa Fe and tries to keep the number of lights out at about 67, or about 1 percent of the total lights, Sandoval said. He found that the average for 2021 was around 80 lights out at some point.

At the height of a spike, which usually occurs in summer, Sandoval said it could take around 26 days for a light to be reported before maintenance teams can replace the light.

PNM is facing a balancing act when choosing which lights to repair, said Sandoval, especially if they are to be upgraded to an energy-efficient lightbulb in the near future. In this case, PNM has to check whether it makes sense for tax purposes to repair a luminaire that is soon to be replaced anyway.

“We have a responsibility for safety,” said Sandoval. “We know when a light is off and it is a high traffic area, we want to make sure that light is repaired. Yes, it is a balancing act to save tax money because we are in the process of converting that anyway. But it’s a public safety issue and are we doing the right thing for the public? “

Richard Rylee, a resident of the San Isidro Apartments, said he had noticed non-working lights across town and said the parties involved in maintaining the streetlights “need to stick together”.

Others said on Wednesday afternoon that they hadn’t noticed or that it didn’t bother them.

Martin Glad, also a San Isidro resident, said it was possible he didn’t notice because he was used to a few non-working lights in the city.

“It happens,” he said. “I don’t drive much at night, but when I do I notice a few.”

Burned-out streetlights did not lead to legal action until May when a couple sued PNM after being hit by a city-owned snowplow and hospitalized while trying to cross Galisteo Street on Paseo de Peralta in 2019.

The lawsuit alleged that PNM had failed to meet its responsibility to protect pedestrians as they cross the city streets. The case is on.

Six days after the incident, the city announced that PNM was urging local residents to report inactive streetlights directly to the utility company. PNM officials said the new system was in place before the incident.

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