Courtenay Place is lit up with LED street lights
Who looks after street lights
Both Wellington City Council and Wellington Electricity share responsibilities for our street lights.
Wellington City Council is responsible for the light, pole and fittings for each street light, and maintaining the vegetation around street light poles and power lines. The Council will likely be the resolver if only one or two lights is out as that suggests a problem with the light itself.
If there are three or more out in a row, then it is likely to be an electricity network fault, i.e. there’s a problem with the electricity supply rather than the light. This is the responsibility of Wellington Electricity. Only Wellington Electricity can repair electricity lines or the cabling connecting the light pole to the lines.
You can report both types of street light faults to the Council. We will log the fault and pass it on to the appropriate team, including Wellington Electricity.
How to report a broken street light
You can report a broken street light by:
When you contact us, it's important to let us know:
- the specific location of the light
- if it has a communication dome on the top
- whether it is just one light or several in a row or in a wide area.
This will help us direct the problem to the appropriate team for fixing.
In 2018, the Council worked with NZTA to roll out new LED lights across our network of street lights. We have also introduced a new Central Management System (CMS) that enables us to dim or brighten lights remotely (within limits), and lets us know if any lights aren’t working.
Around 14,400 of our 17,000 street and walkway lights are connected to the CMS, and we are targeting to have the full network connected over the next couple of years. Lights that are connected can be easily identified because they have a small dome on the top.
Benefits of LEDs
LEDs are more efficient, use significantly less energy (50% less), are more economical, provide better colour rendition, are adjustable, and are estimated to last four to five times longer than traditional HID street lights. They are shock and vibration-proof, which makes them perfect for windy locations like Wellington, and also do not contain harmful chemicals, such as mercury and sodium which are found in the old HID lights.
When LEDs are first switched on
It can take up to 15 minutes for LEDs to fully start up each day and can involve each light coming on at full brightness and then turning off to reset if it has received updated information from the Central Management System. As each light needs to communicate separately with the CMS, they don’t all come on at exactly the same time, and instead are queued, connecting through whichever of the 20 base stations around the city is nearest or offers the strongest communication signal on a particular day .
Flickering and strobing
From time to time LEDs may display strange behaviour, such as flickering, or strobing. This should be reported so we can investigate.
LED colour and brightness
Although light from LEDs appears to be white, they emit the full-spectrum of visible light, providing much better colour rendition.
The colour temperature of a light is a measure of its warmth (or harshness) to the human eye. The less blue or white light emitted, the warmer the light appears. The LEDs installed in residential areas have the Fixture Seal of Approval from the International Dark-Sky Association, and have a Correlated Colour Temperature (CCT) of 3000K. LEDs used on major roads and at major intersections have a CCT of 4000K and can appear harsher than those used in residential areas.
Vegetation around streetlights and powerlines
On occasion it may be necessary to have the vegetation trimmed around the faulty powerlines, before lines repairs can be carried out. This is done by a separate contractor, and may take more time to arrange before the repair can be completed.
Newly installed street lights
When a new street light is first installed, it may be several weeks before it can be switched on. This is because new connections require an Energy Retailer administrative process once the light is installed, which can take eight weeks or more, including clearances from Wellington Electricity before it can be used.