While rolling out LED (light-emitting diodes) lights across our network, Council introduced a 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 are easily identified because they have a small dome on the top.
Benefits of LEDs
LEDs are more efficient, use much less energy (50% less), are more economical, offer 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.
LED colour and brightness
Although light from LEDs appears to be white, they emit the full spectrum of visible light, providing 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.
What’s the difference between the old street lights and the new ones?
The old standard street lights give non-directional light that goes in multiple directions, including upwards. The new directional LED street lights direct light down towards the road below. This means that it can appear as though the LED light is not bright enough as it looks different to the non-directional light.
How do we know if it’s light enough?
Whilst a common perception of LED lighting is that the lighting level is lower than standard lighting, this is usually not the case. Our LED street light system is designed to meet the Australian / New Zealand Standard for lighting for roads and public spaces, known as AS / NZS 1158. However, there are instances where we do need to increase lighting levels. If we investigate and discover that AS / NZS 1158 standards are not being meet, there are two adjustment options available:
- We increase or decrease the wattage provided the light is not running at maximum or minimum wattage already.
- We investigate whether the installation of an additional light, known as an infill is appropriate.
Please note that in some situations, there needs to be agreement from the community before we will adjust a light or install an infill. Please note that for community agreement on any proposed change, WCC will need a list of names, addresses, and signatures for consideration of the change.
If you have a query about LED lighting levels in your area, call and log a job with our Contact Centre on 04 499 4444.
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.
When LEDs are 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. Council may already know about the issue, but if not, they should be reported so we can investigate.
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.