<em>Gavin Newsom and others look up to see if the signal from the iPhone has turned on the new LED Street light</em>

Gavin Newsom and others look up to see if the signal from the iPhone has turned on the new LED Street light

Photos by Bill Wilson © 2009

Mayor Gavin Newsom today kicked off the deployment of the first fifty City-owned LED (light-emitting diode) streetlight fixtures in the Tenderloin and announced a new partnership between Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to evaluate new “smart controller” technologies that will allow for better monitoring and performance of City streetlights. LED’s are environmentally superior to conventional high-pressure sodium bulbs – up to 50% more energy efficient and lasting two to three times longer.

“LED streetlights are more energy-efficient, offer significant long-term savings and can help contribute to improved public safety,” said Mayor

“In addition to deploying this first wave of LED streetlights to benefit Tenderloin residents and families, the SFPUC and PG&E are working together to evaluate new ‘smart controllers’ – the next wave of streetlight technology.”

<em>LED (Light Emitting Diode) Street Light</em>

LED (Light Emitting Diode) Street Light

“PG&E is proud to work with Mayor Newsom and the SFPUC to support their innovative, energy efficient LED streetlight projects,” stated Nancy McFadden, senior vice president of public affairs for PG&E.

“By embracing tomorrow’s technology today and working together, we can ensure a greener future for all.”

<em>Nancy McFadden</em>

Nancy McFadden

A pilot program between PG&E and the City to evaluate LED streetlights in the Civic Center area and on Beale Street was successfully completed in 2008. LED streetlights provide greater energy-efficiency and superior light dispersion and redundancy, with individual diode malfunctioning not affecting the ability of the entire unit to operate.

The SFPUC will phase-in replacement of many of the City’s streetlights with LED’s in waves over the next several years.

LED streetlight performance is also expected to improve in the near future, while costs decline, as new technologies emerge and the competitive LED market expands.

PG&E and the SFPUC are also collaborating to evaluate the monitoring and controlling of streetlights via “smart controller” technologies.

Smart controllers provide the ability to monitor individual streetlight performance, adjust the light intensity level and receive real-time information when lights have failed or are about to fail.

This will improve energy conservation and reduce maintenance costs.

Selected lights can be turned on and off, dimmed or placed in a strobe mode to identify a specific location to emergency personnel.

The SFPUC and PG&E are currently evaluating or piloting products developed by at least two companies, Echelon and ROAM, demonstrated by Mayor Newsom today.

PG&E is also in the process of developing energy efficiency rebates and special rates to incentivize the installation of LED streetlights for customer-owned and maintained streetlights.

“We’re enthusiastic about rolling out LED streetlights and smart controllers citywide,” said SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington.

“But with technologies improving and costs expected to decline in the near future, we also think it’s in the interest of City residents to have a ‘smart’ phase-in over time.”

<em>SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington, left, with Mayor Newsom</em>

SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington, left, with Mayor Newsom


Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and Bay Area media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past five years. Email Bill Wilson at


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