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PNM Announces LED Streetlight Project In Albuquerque

Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Mayor Tim Keller turns on a streetlight in the International District while a PNM worker looks on.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller got on a truck lift on Wednesday, May 8, and turned on a streetlight in the International District in a photo-op designed to announce that PNM will replace all of its streetlight bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs by the end of 2019. It’s still unclear when the area’s ongoing problem with broken streetlights and bad lighting will be resolved.

PNM announced it had finished the LED bulb replacements in the International District over the last three weeks.

Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM
PNM CEO Patricia Collawn speaks at the news conference. She didn't take questions and refused to answer KUNM's after the conference, too.

The state’s largest electric utility refused to answer questions about how many streetlights are fixed and newly working after the bulb replacement project, and how many remain out in the district. A drive through the area earlier this week revealed long stretches of broken streetlights on major streets, like Louisiana Boulevard and Central Avenue.

Mayor Keller said this is a huge step, but it’s not enough. "We still have copper theft, which is when you see a chain of lights out—which I see a lot, especially on Gibson and things like that—it’s usually copper theft, which takes longer and is more expensive to repair, so there’s a lot to this."

Residents of the International District have been calling for better lighting for more than a decade.

The LED bulbs are expected to save taxpayers $1.3 million on the city’s electric bill each year.

Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM
A series of broken lights on Central Avenue near California on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at around 10 p.m. PNM has completed its LED lightbulb conversion project in this area. It's unclear when broken streetlights that have problems other than bulbs will be addressed.

Marisa Demarco began a career in radio at KUNM News in late 2013 and covered public health for much of her time at the station. During the pandemic, she is also the executive producer for Your NM Government and No More Normal, shows focused on the varied impacts of COVID-19 and community response, as well as racial and social justice. She joined Source New Mexico as editor-in-chief in 2021.
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