Streetlight changeout
GE Form 109 Removal (April 1991)

During that time, the two large private utilities in our area had not completely converted their street lights to HPS. Company "A" had only done some conversion work on major roads with 250 and 400 watt HPS; the remaining was a rather nicely inconsistent assortment of various types of mercury luminaries. Company "B" still had some 1000 lumen incandescents and 1960s/1970s mercury fixtures in one town, but nothing as exciting as those Company A had. Both had service territories that covered several towns and Company A was close to wrapping up their conversion work by 1989.

Streetlight changeoutStreetlight changeout
Wheeler 100 watt Mercury removal (August 1991)

Having been an electric utility employee for seven years in early 1988 and possessing an excellent rapport and work record, I secured permission from the management of Companies A and B to pick through their dumpster after working hours. Each thought I had an interesting hobby and was told to be careful and not to get hurt while poring through their dumpster contributions. Since Company B was on the tail end of their HPS conversion I did not find many lights. However, those I retrieved were of types I did not have at the time. They were actually a better resource for insulators and related pole line go-withs, which I gladly took home and added to my respective collections.

Up until around 1990 Company A only upgraded an older mercury fixture either whenever it failed or if it was on an old pole during a pole change out. It was their policy through the years to retire separate ballast 400-watt mercury and the 100 and 175-watt mercury lights that were of the non-cobrahead design. The latter were photocontrol and ballast-in-head Wheeler fixtures with General Electric latch-on type glass globes, most dating prior to 1960. Since these hardy old timers did not fail very often, most acquisitions were the result of pole changeovers. Interestingly enough, the replacement fixtures commonly were mercury luminaries, brand new out of the box. Just about all other utilities in the vicinity were installing HPS units when an old mercury was retired.

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