Nighttime navigators in Perth beware: Dimming streetlights spark concerns

Streetlights in Perth are starting to dim, and about 10 heads have been removed to have their LED circuit boards replaced. If you notice a streetlight has dimmed significantly or is out altogether, please visit the town's website to report it. Photo credit: Laurie Weir.
Posted on: January 17, 2024

LED circuit boards to be recalibrated in several of the 753 lights across town


There is not a lot of life left in Perth’s streetlights. 

That was the message from Grant Mahon, the town’s director of corporate services during a meeting of the committee of the whole on Jan. 16. 

Deputy Mayor Ed McPherson asked Mahon about the dimness of some of the streetlights after he was approached by a business owner during the Christmas holidays.

The business owner said the lights are “really dim compared to before, and is there a system to decide when to change them?”

Mahon said the update to LED lights several years ago, “was truly a number of years ago, and some of those lights are now hitting their life expectancy – not so much the overall life, but the control systems inside them which is a simple circuit board that has gone.”

The engineering firm that has the town’s streetlight contract has removed 10 light heads to replace the circuit boards, Mahon explained. 

There are a number coming out, he added, with 753 streetlights in total – 12 different types. 

“We’re getting into that statistical turnover. A number of those lights that are not active are in Ottawa being repaired and they’re going to be put back in place,” Mahon said. 

As the town staff converted to LED lights, “they were not like the old incandescent lights that just fail. LED lights get dimmer as they age.”

Mahon said what staff has not done is calibrated those lights to see how much life is left in them. 

“It’s like any LED light … they’re not going to fail outright, but rather will get dimmer over time,” he said. 

This year, staff will do some measuring and quantifying because these lights were all replaced at the same time. 

“They’re all going to fail at approximately the same time,” Mahon said. “If we are to do this system in the future, I would do it like we do the trees – different species, different upstarts. I think in 2024 we’re going to have to do a serious evaluation on the streetlights and see how this is going.”

Mahon said they will go out to public tender for a repair contractor. 

If residents notice any lights out on their street, staff recommends visiting the town’s website and report it. Here is the link:

Mahon said it’s not a “sky is falling” issue, but he wanted to bring it to council’s attention. 

“A streetlight head in general is $2,500.”

Cobra heads and lantern styles are the most prominent light heads in the town. 

Coun. Jim Boldt said he recalled when a presentation was made to council 12-14 years ago about the switch over to LED that it would pay for itself in about four years. 

“That’s a significant amount of money ($1.8 million),” he said. “We as a council should come to terms with replacements or alternate ideas on replacing these things as they wear out because this could be a significant hit to our wallet … in the not-too-distant future.”

Mahon said there was a cost savings at the beginning of the changeover, “but we didn’t continue to do was build a reserve for those assets. That is something we should look at and it will form part of my report.”

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News