5 Questions with Ryan Blair on Fall Streetlight Maintenance
October 30, 2017
I've noticed a lot of streetlights out in my area this fall. Why?
This time of year as the days get shorter, it's definitely more noticeable when streetlights are out in your neighbourhood. This year has been especially challenging for us. It's a busy time of year normally, as we are coming out of a hectic summer season. Our technicians have been busy working to fix weather-related outages, and this year the added challenge of ground shifting also took up time and resources that we would normally spend dealing with streetlight issues. This is particularly noticeable in Regina, Moose Jaw and Weyburn.
As of mid-October, there are about 1,900 streetlights across Saskatchewan that need our attention. We know this is important to our customers, and we're committed to doing everything we can to fix the problem as quickly and safely as possible.
What can cause a streetlight outage?
There are a number of issues that can impact streetlights. Some of them are fairly simple“ such as when we need to replace a bulb, photo sensor, or a burned out fuse. However, some of them are much more complex, particularly when underground cables are involved. These types of outages can take a lot longer to identify and fix. Often, the problem may be that the power supply to the light has failed. Repairing or replacing the supply to the lights can take more time and expense as we may need to schedule a crew or deal with routing cables around existing infrastructure.
What is SaskPower doing to catch up?
With the days getting shorter, we are preparing our staff across the province to get to as many of these as we can. Weather, outages and other immediate infrastructure concerns will still need our attention but we're committed to reducing streetlight related outages. It's going to be a major priority for our crews this fall, particularly as we approach Halloween. We want your little ghosts and goblins to be safe! Thank you for your patience and understanding.
How can I report an outage, and how long will it take?
If you see a streetlight out, you can report it online or on the SaskPower App. You'll be able to locate the affected light on a map and see whether or not it has been reported in our system already.
How long it takes can depend on the complexity of the issue. So far this year, over a third of reported outages have been repaired within a week. It's important to know that we maintain the streetlights in many cities, towns and villages across the province; however, not all streetlights are owned and maintained by SaskPower. Streetlights in new subdivisions and development areas, as well as privately owned lights, will not appear on the map.
What can be done to prevent in the future?
There may be some more complex issues that we may not be able to totally prevent, but we are piloting the use of LED streetlights, which are more energy efficient, require less maintenance and are less expensive to operate.
The LED streetlight pilot will run from October-November 2017, beginning in Regina and moving to Saskatoon. LED streetlights use 40-60 per cent less energy than traditional streetlights, and last about 20 years, reducing maintenance costs. This will allow our field technicians to focus on correcting the more complex streetlight outages in the future.
For more information on the pilot, read the news release.