Carleton Place street light rehabilitation a go for 2018

Posted on: January 10, 2018

Matthew Behrens

Following a number of years of discussion and planning, it appears that the town of Carleton Place will finally enjoy an upgrade to its street light network this year. It will introduce LED fixtures and fix systemic problems that have seen some areas of the town experience over a dozen outages in the past year.

“We’ve been wanting to go with LED conversion, but the holdback has always been our system issues,” the town’s Director of Public Works Dave Young, told the Jan. 9 meeting of the physical environment committee. Young noted that all it takes is one component to misfire to affect the whole system, and “as recently as last week, we had pretty much everything north of Townline out.”  

The conversion to LED will be made possible based on a proposal from Realterm Energy, a company that has worked with 175 municipalities over the past year on similar lighting challenges across Ontario.

Realterm’s Michael Miller told the committee that the solution to Carleton Place’s lighting woes is in sight, with work expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year or early in 2019.

A survey has been completed, with each light being GPS-located, and each characteristic of the existing system duly noted. The missing component, he said, “is which lights are on which relay. What you have is a system that looks incredibly complicated that’s actually very simple.”

Miller says prior wisdom is that one additional circuit solely dedicated to street lights would be run along with other wires in most municipalities. “But when one streetlight blows a relay and it takes out 50 lights,” Miller said, it forced crews to dedicate significant time to determine which light was the actual culprit.

Miller says his company’s approach is as simple as moving the street light wire connection to the Hydro One wire right above. He noted that when streetlights go out, power remains for the houses and buildings in the affected areas, and so the transfer to the Hydro wire will ensure such outages do not occur.

There are about 5,000 metres of isolated wire that will have to be re-installed where existing Hydro infrastructure does not make a complete loop.

“Everything that we’ve seen right now indicates we can hit the ground,” he said, noting that while more questions need to be addressed, the town is well on its way to having a safe and reliable system within the year.