Xcel Energy Testing GE LED Street Lighting in Minnesota for Eight-State Service Area

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — May 16, 2013 — (NYSE:GE) — GE’s new Evolve™ LED Scalable Cobrahead lighting fixtures have been installed by Xcel Energy in the city of West St. Paul, Minn., as part of a utility-initiated implementation of LED street lights. Xcel Energy will monitor performance of the new lights for two years and use the data to develop an LED program for every state in its service area: Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin. The utility maintains approximately 500,000 Xcel Energy and customer-owned street lights in all eight states.

Xcel Energy has changed 530 high-pressure sodium (100-, 150- and 250-watt) fixtures in West St. Paul to GE’s LED street lights. Data collected during the testing will help the utility decide what sort of LED lighting products provide the most benefit to customers, how to price LED rate options, how much maintenance is required and how frequently it should be performed. It also will document customers’ perception of the LED fixtures.

In the meantime, West St. Paul will continue to pay its current street light service rate. Xcel Energy funded the $200,000 cost to install the fixtures, completed in January 2013.

“These new LED systems have improved the quality of light that our residents rely on to navigate our streets at night,” said West St. Paul Mayor John Zanmiller. “With the help of Xcel Energy and GE Lighting, our community is seeing the promise of a new technology that can yield significant savings. The preliminary data is promising, and other cities—large or small—should keep a keen eye on the results."

GE Lighting anticipates the switch to provide annual energy savings of about 45 percent.

The Evolve LED Scalable Cobrahead Street Lighting fixture, a product of GE ecomagination℠, was recently awarded “Best in Class” for roadway lighting in the 2012 Next Generation Luminaires™ (NGL) Competition and won the 2013 LightFair International Innovation Award category for Parking, Roadway and Area Luminaires. Significantly reducing energy use compared to traditional high-intensity (HID) street lighting systems, the fixture is offered in four sizes to meet a variety of municipal codes.

Xcel Energy has installed GE’s Evolve™ Cobrahead fixtures in West St. Paul, Minn., in a pilot project to measure the performance of LED street lighting.

 

“We’ve been looking at LED fixtures as a source to light up roadways,” said Ed Bieging, project coordinator for Xcel Energy's outdoor lighting department. “We wanted to be sure not to put in a product that is inferior or that we’d have to make adjustments to. In recent years, we saw advances in technology—from light distribution patterns, designs of fixtures, and heat-sink efficiency—and we’re really excited for what GE has to offer with the scalable Cobrahead fixture.

“We’ve received a lot of feedback from municipalities where we have street lights, and they have always asked when we were going to offer LED options. Our response has been that we weren’t confident with the technology and wanted to wait until it was better. It is better today.”

The utility chose West St. Paul, a city of nearly 20,000 residents located just south of Minnesota’s capital of St. Paul, as the pilot location because of its proximity to Xcel Energy’s service center. Additionally, its street light distribution, fixture types and adjacent vegetation allows it to illustrate a “real-world application” of LED street lights, Bieging said.

Xcel Energy’s goal is for its customers to benefit from new technology, Bieging said.

“We are taking steps to be more proactive in how we light our roadways, and this is one way we can do that,” he said.

Many municipal customers are seeking ways to reduce costs, and Xcel Energy is sharing recommendations that include the ways LED fixtures affect operations and maintenance dollars. Currently, Xcel Energy has a five-year preventative maintenance cycle in place to proactively replace lamps in the street lights on its system.

“If the Evolve LED fixtures work as expected, we won’t have to check as frequently,” said Sylvia Rossi, a scheduler with Xcel Energy. “We can go longer between intervals.”

To learn more about how GE is lighting America’s roadways with energy-efficient LED street lighting fixtures for streets of all sizes, visit www.gelighting.com. To learn more about GE’s commitment to innovative solutions for today’s environmental challenges while driving economic growth, visit www.ecomagination.com.

About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy (NYSE: XEL) is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.4 million electricity customers and 1.9 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. For more information, visit www.xcelenergy.com.

About GE Lighting
GE Lighting invents with the vigor of its founder Thomas Edison to develop energy-efficient solutions that change the way people light their world in commercial, industrial, municipal and residential settings. The business employs about 15,000 people in more than 100 countries, and sells products under the Reveal® and Energy Smart® consumer brands, and Evolve™, GTx™, Immersion™, Infusion™, Lumination™, Albeo™, and Tetra® commercial brands, all trademarks of GE. General Electric (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter to build a world that works better. For more information, visit www.gelighting.com.

50 Years of LED Innovation
Oct. 9, 1962, GE scientist Dr. Nick Holonyak, Jr., invented the first practical visible-spectrum light-emitting diode (LED). In the 50 years since, GE has been on the forefront of LED innovation. The company has released inspired LED products for both residential and commercial settings, from the first ENERGY STAR®-qualified A19-shaped LED bulb to LED street lighting that illuminates cityscapes the world over.