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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

City Replacing Streetlights With More Energy Efficient Bulbs

How many mayors does it take to screw in a lightbulb? It may sound like a joke, but Mayor Jerry Sanders was on hand Monday to oversee the ceremonial switch to a new kind of lightbulb for city streetlights.

The new bulbs are expected to help people see better because they produce a broader spectrum of light. They're induction lamps, which are brighter and last longer. Sanders said that will save San Diego money.

"We’ll save about $2.2 million a year," he said. "It’s also important because it brightens up neighborhoods and has the benefit of makings those neighborhoods safer once these lights are installed."

The project will cost about $16 million. More than 35,000 streetlights will get the new bulbs, which will replace the current sodium vapor light.

According to the city, the life span of the new bulbs runs up to 100,000 hours, or about double that of LED lights, which were also considered.

About 80 percent of the city’s streetlights will be retrofitted by the time the project ends in early 2013.

San Diego is contracting out installation of the bulbs to Southern Contracting of San Marcos. City crews will maintain the streetlights after installation.

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