ROUND ROCK, Texas (KXAN) — The city of Round Rock is interested in buying the streetlight system that is currently owned by Oncor in an attempt to save money and quicken response times to damaged lights.

City council will vote Thursday night on sending a drafted letter to the utility to request the purchase of the streetlights.

Gary Hudder, the city’s department of transportation director, said the city is currently under contract with Oncor to provide maintenance and electricity for about 5,500 streetlights. The contract is a little under $1 million, according to Hudder.

Cost savings on maintenance

Hudder said the city will see a savings on maintenance fees if it decides to take full ownership.

A consultant, Tanko Streetlighting Inc., found the city could be saving at least $500,000 every year on maintenance alone if the city took full ownership, Hudder said.

If approved at the meeting, the city will send a letter of intent to Round Rock.

“That really becomes the official notification to meet state law as to our intent, and then that will lead us into a much more specific and detailed conversation and negotiation with Oncor,” Hudder explained.

City council will also vote Thursday night to extend its consulting contract with Tanko Streetlighting as it prepares to go through the process of taking full ownership. A proposal from Tanko Streetlighting says it recommends the city switch to LED lighting once it has ownership as a way to save even more money.

The contract extension with Tanko Streetlighting will cost $172,865.

Quicker response times

On top of cost savings, the city also believes the change will provide quicker response times to damaged streetlights.

Hudder said residents would be come frustrated when damaged lights or broken bulbs were not fixed in a speedy manner by Oncor. If it gets full ownership, the city will be able to respond to those type of problems in the future.

Oncor responds

A spokesperson for Oncor said, “Oncor has provided safe and reliable street light service to the City of Round Rock for decades and looks forward to continuing to do so. We will review the city’s letter once we receive it.”

Round Rock’s letter to the utility says it wants to reach a mutual agreement with Oncor, but it is ready to “utilize alternative options” to secure ownership.

One of those options could be an out clause in the current contract.