Perham has 370 street lights and 230 private-area lights, in places such as parking lots, for a total of 600 lights.

These lights are owned and maintained by the Otter Tail Power Company. The city of Perham has an agreement with the power company to have the street lights illuminated.

Currently, Perham’s street lights are high-intensity discharge (HID) which are high-pressure sodium lights, said Jon Fabre, Marketing Program Supervisor at Otter Tail Power Company.

These lights have a low color rendering index causing them to emit a yellow-colored light that allows for little color differentiation in vision. These lights also provide a limited field of vision to motorists and pedestrians, as well as fill the night sky with light pollution.

Perham is one of many Minnesota cities planning to convert to light-emitting diode (LED) technology in 2020. The Otter Tail Power Company’s LED tariff and replacement plan was approved by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Nov. 30, 2017.

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A light post on Perham's West Main Street that is part of the LED upgrade. (RosaLin Alcoser/Focus)
A light post on Perham's West Main Street that is part of the LED upgrade. (RosaLin Alcoser/Focus)

“We are excited to partner with Otter Tail Power Company on this lighting upgrade,” Perham City Manager Jonathan Smith said. “LED streetlights will help control cost and increase energy savings, improve safety and reliability, and enhance aesthetics and environmental performance for our community.”

This 2020 street light conversion to LED lights will replace all 600 street lights in Perham.

The Otter Tail Power Company has allocated $219,000 for this capital project to upgrade the 600 street lights to LED.

There are a number of benefits to be gained by converting to LED street lights, according to the power company.

“LEDs are more energy-efficient, Require less maintenance, and improve light quality and safety,” said Jason Grenier, Otter Tail Power Company Market Planning manager. “LEDs last four to five times longer than HIDs and their longer life span reduces the cost of maintenance.

LEDs operate at a higher color rendering index than HIDs. The white light produced by the higher color index allows for more color differentiation and a wider field of vision.

The higher color index will be increased safety for those out at night as they will be able to see more, Fabre said.

These lights are not necessarily brighter than HIDs, said Brandon Johnson, Otter Tail Power Company Senior Commercial and Industrial Representative.

“The color rendition of LEDs is closer to that of natural daylight, making you see better in nighttime conditions,” Johnson said.

LEDs are directional lights sources that provide increase illumination in a more uniformed and even lighting distribution on roadways and surfaces. The light produced by LEDs will also lessen light pollution in the night sky.

For more information

Visit or call the Otter Tail Power Company Idea Center at 800-493-3299.