Oviedo residents see hike in power bill to pay for lights

There's controversy in Oviedo over new streetlights making power bills go up. The city saves money, while homeowners foot the bill.

If it seems like Oviedo is brighter these days, that's because it is. The city is changing out its old lights for new LEDs.

"The poles are going to be switched out. The fixtures are going to be switched out," said Oviedo Mayor Dominic Persampiere.

City officials say 82 lights have changed over from old to new, saving the city $13,000 just in the last few months. So who's paying for it? The homeowners who are taxed through a lighting fee: $78 a year.

"Energy efficiency costs a little bit of money. In the long-run, it's really going to pay off," said Mayor Persampiere.

Some homeowners we spoke with have their doubts.

"They'll be saving money incorporating these LED lights, but they'll be taxing us for them. I don't think that's particularly fair," said Gene McClendon, of Oviedo.

The lighting fee is expected to bring in up upwards of $800,000 a year to cover electric, leasing the poles and maintenance. Some say it's worth the cost.

"We now have the funds to expand the system," said Mayor Persampiere.

"As long as the lights bring security to the neighborhoods...[it's] brighter, good for the kids," said Efrain Bosque, of Oviedo.

"It's always nice to save energy. Again, I think it should be up to the power company to incur that cost, not necessarily the consumer,"  McClendon added.

It's still unclear just how much the city could save once all the lights are converted. The project is expected to take several years.