05 September 2023
Essential Energy marked an important community milestone in July 2023, affixing the final streetlight in a program to replace more than 160,000 streetlights across regional NSW.
Public lighting plays a crucial role for the community by providing safe, secure and attractive public areas for both pedestrians and vehicles. The six-year streetlight program covered 85 local government areas across the State, with the COVID lockdowns and global supply chain challenges adding to the hurdles faced by the team.
The emergence of new technologies – in particular the introduction of energy efficient and cost-effective LED streetlighting – prompted Essential Energy in 2018 to transition from a lamp replacement program to an LED replacement program.
Utilities specialist Ultegra installed the 160,000-plus LED streetlights with the support of Essential Energy crews.
New streetlights are installed at the request of local councils, meaning each program involves detailed engagement with individual councils about how the community would be affected. The move to install LED streetlights is projected to cut energy consumption from streetlighting in the council areas by 50 per cent.
Essential Energy Chief Operating Officer Luke Jenner said “Switching to LED technology makes sense for everyone involved. Not only do LED streetlights cut energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, the new lights have a longer lifespan and reduce the need for maintenance programs, freeing up resources to benefit the community in other ways.
“I cannot overstate the challenges this program faced and pay tribute to the teams who displayed dedication and commitment in progressing the work throughout the pandemic and supply chain issues outside their control.
“For a time there, we were working with daily COVID plans and also had to divert resources to help with bushfires and floods, so the logistical challenges were immense. And let’s not forget the snake that popped its head out of one of the streetlights to welcome one of our crews.
“I also acknowledge we couldn’t have completed this program without the commitment of local councils to work side-by-side with us, a remarkable community engagement exercise.”
It is estimated the running costs for the LED streetlights are about 10 per cent of the lamps.
While the old lamps required replacement after four years, the cleaning cycle for LED lights is six years and the lifespan could extend to as much as 20 years.