Until recently, municipalities were limited in how they managed their streetlights. This expensive public safety resource was costing Rhode Island communities a combined $17 million annually (Washington County communities alone paid $1.2 annually). This is because municipalities do not own the lighting fixtures, and instead are mandated to lease the lights from the electric company at a higher rate. We are changing that approach.
Municipal Streetlights Investment Act
Drafted by the Washington County Regional Planning Council (WCRPC) to make the streetlights reform program possible, the Municipal Streetlight Investment Act was supported in both the House and Senate, as well as by National Grid, Verizon, the League of Cities and Towns, the Environmental Council of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources.
Here are the main points of the Streetlight Investment Act:
- Removes the mandate that all street lighting be provided by the electric distribution company (in most cases, National Grid)
- Allows municipalities to purchase and control their own streetlights as a public safety resource
- Establishes the purchase process and how the purchase price is calculated
- Encourages regional collaborative maintenance programs
- Requires inclusion of solid-state lighting (LED) and dimming controls
PRISM Streetlights Inc.
Formerly a program of the non-profit Washington County Regional Planning Council, PRISM Streetlights was incorporated as a non-profit organization in September 2016 to provide municipalities with experienced people to manage the delivery, cost, and maintenance of streetlight systems. By limiting overhead and passing on savings to the municipalities, PRISM is an organization focused on helping municipalities stretch their budget and achieve greater energy independence, while ensuring residents receive excellent customer service. Municipalities can voluntarily participate in PRISM, or choose to continue to operate under the current process. To join PRISM as an Associate Member, municipalities must approve a participation agreement, pay a one-time fee of $1.00 per streetlight, and provide one month of all electric bills. To be a Full Member of the collaborative, municipalities must complete a maintenance contract with PRISM for three years.
Get in touch
PRISM is happy to meet with any Rhode Island Streetlight customer to show you how we can help. Please call or email us.
Knowledge. Dedication. Experience.
Board of Directors
PRISM Streetlights Inc is a membership energy aggregation collaborative. It is governed by a Board of Directors made up of the same people who lead and govern the municipalities. This ensures all decisions are made in the best interest of the communities we support.
LightSmart Consulting Inc
George is the nation’s foremost expert on municipal streetlighting. He started LightSmart after a career in the U.S. Army from which he retired as a full Colonel and held energy-related positions; including, running the municipal utility in Fort Knox, KY, and serving as Director of Public Works for Lexington, MA. In MA, he wrote the state’s streetlight ownership legislation that RI’s was modeled after. Mr. Woodbury has helped over 100 municipalities purchase their streetlight systems from utilities and completed energy efficiency upgrades of close to 100,000 streetlights across the country, including from National Grid.
George has served as an expert witness in many states from Maine to California and is on the ANSI technical committee developing standards for new street lighting and control technologies.
In Rhode Island, George joined the PRISM team as our Expert Witness for the entire two-year (and ongoing) PUC Intervention. George donated his time and travel expenses, working Pro Bono for that entire effort. He is completely familiar with the positions National Grid took against municipalities and the strategies we used to counter them, as well as the economic impact had we not prevailed in all major issues. George is also accustomed to all the documents National Grid provides or proposes. Some of his most recent clients, including Fitchburg, Randolph, and Brockton, MA, are all in National Grid’s service area where he assisted in asset sales from NGRID, and LED conversion with controls in Randolph and Fitchburg.
Jeff brings a wealth of multi-jurisdictional public, private, and nonprofit sector experience to the position of Executive Director of the Washington County Regional Planning Council. With a BA in Economic Geography and Environmental Studies from the University of Washington and an Executive MBA from the University of Rhode Island, Jeff has developed excellent communication, analytical, and creative skills.
Jeff’s career spans both coasts, including two environmental and socio-economic consulting firms in Washington State where he authored numerous Environmental Impact Statements for projects as diverse as an urban mixed-use project, a landfill, numerous residential subdivisions, and a Pacific Ocean floor mining operation. While on the west coast he also worked for the City of Kent’s Planning Department and Seattle’s Department of Community Development. His duties included multi-governmental relations as well as interdepartmental coordination.
Moving home to the east coast, Jeff served as New Haven’s Director of Downtown and Harbor Development. He has consulted for major firms in RI and CT, and ran his own independent firm for almost ten years. In addition, he served as Executive Director for two nonprofit organizations, prior to WCRPC. Jeff lives along the coast of Narragansett with his wife, his son, and their dog.