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.
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.