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City of Killeen weighs owning, purchasing its streetlights from Oncor

Posted at 6:44 PM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 19:46:28-05

KILLEEN, TX — Over 4,500 streetlights line the streets of Killeen but the city doesn’t own them, the city council wants to change that.

The City of Killeen is weighing whether or not to purchase the city’s street lights from Oncor.

Killeen’s streetlights are currently owned and maintained by Oncor and it is costing the city of Killeen hundreds of thousands a year.

”In our presentation, right now we pay for our streetlights, the poles, about 10 dollars and some cents per,” said Jose Segarra, mayor of Killeen.

With over 4,500 streetlights in the city, they are paying Oncor over $700,000 a year. It's a cost the city wants to cut.

”If we were to own them ourselves, the cost would be about 45 cents. So, tremendous savings to own those streetlights,” said Mayor Segarra.

Local economists say it would only be a good thing for the city to own the lights.

”They would be able to maintain them and eventually, they should cost less to operate and in doing so, they would be able to put more lights throughout Killeen for the same cost they currently incurring,” said Dr. Rob Tennant, Associate Professor of Economics at Texas A&M Central Texas.

The city says Oncor is not interested in selling the lights, something experts say could be due to Oncor losing money in the long run.

We look forward to hearing from the City of Killeen and will seriously consider any request that they might make. It is also important to note that Oncor does not determine the need for street lighting but works closely with local officials across our service area to maintain existing lighting and install additional lighting as determined by each city.

- Statement from Oncor

”They would get an upfront amount of money, but it wouldn’t be an ongoing thing. All they would get after that is just for the electricity use,” said Dr. Tennant.

Oncor not wanting to sell is an obstacle, but Mayor Segarra says the city isn’t giving up yet.

”I think the council still wants to put it out there and say, hey we're interested in buying them but, we’ll see where it goes from there," said Mayor Segarra.