Lights are driving her crazy

Kelly of Grand Haven asked, "Why are the lights on the smokestack for the Board of Light & Power white sometimes and red other times? Once I noticed that they change, it really drives me crazy!"
Mark Brooky
Mar 22, 2013

ANSWER:

Oh, so that's what that Ellie Goulding song, "Lights," is all about!

Just kidding. The lights are there so planes don't hit it.

Jeff Chandler, director of production for the Board of Light & Power, said federal regulations require a stack below 500 feet to use the red-white configuration.

"Our stack is 360 (feet high)," he said. "This allowed us to go to this red-white configuration. I pursued this because it is more pleasing at night to use red — and I must admit, they are much more acceptable now."

Chandler said the stack lights are energy-efficient LEDs, and they use about a tenth of the juice that the high-intensity Zenon lights had used. Yes, even the power-generating municipal utility has to conserve electricity!

"They are also designed to shine straight out and up, so they are not a nuisance to the public on the ground," he added.

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