by Terry Rogers
On Monday, August 24, Charlie Kistler, Executive Director of Lights-ON Delaware Strong provided information to Milford City Council on how the program plans to expand in the city. Kistler also provided data on the success of the program over the past year.
“We began with contract funding from Energize Delaware and partnered with the City of Milford,” Kistler said. “We worked with the Milford Police Department to define target areas based on criminal activity before performing door-to-door installation of energy efficient LED lighting. We were able to install the lighting in 478 homes, saving about 27,268 kilowatts of energy.”
In addition to installing the LED lighting, workshops were held to provide information on energy conservation, energy efficiency, understanding utility bills and behavioral changes that could be made to reduce energy consumption. Over the past year, 31 people participated in the workshops.
“Based on information provided to us by Lieutenant Ed Huey at Milford Police Department, there was an overall reduction in crime compared to the year before,” Kistler said. “You saw crimes against a person, what is called “Part 1 Crimes” increase slightly by 1.79 percent, but crimes against property, which are “Part 2 Crimes,” fell by 11.52 percent. Overall, the crime rate fell 9.91 percent.”
For 2021, the program will be expanded to include additional services. The Lights-ON program will continue in areas identified by Milford Police Department. In addition, 100 homes will be selected for the Health-ON program. This is a program that offers home assessments to identify issues in a home that may not be healthy and refer the resident to services to remedy the problem.
“We are also offering a Weatherization Assistance Program,” Kistler said. “This program provides auditing and installation of energy efficiency and home performance measures. Milford and Seaford are pilot cities for this project. The Home Energy Counseling and Checkup program will interview, assess and install home energy measures or refer the resident to qualified service providers.”
The program is at no cost to the City but will require a Memorandum of Understanding between the municipality and Lights-ON. The City will provide contact information for the Milford Police Department as well as the Customer Service Department in order to identify households that could benefit.
“When I present to other cities, I often use Milford as an example,” Kistler said. “You have one of the finest police departments in the state. You also have a gold standard customer service department. The only thing we ask of a client is that they sign an agreement that if they see something suspicious, they will call 911 and that they encourage their neighbors to participate as well. It is free. We are also asking them to attend our workshops. It seems as if when they sign the agreement, they feel an obligation to commit to our program.”
Participating areas of the City will be identified by Milford Police Department and the Customer Service Office.