Burned up about the burnout backlog? Mayor’s street-light plan

We reported earlier this year on the big backlog at Seattle City Light – report a burned-out street light, wait weeks, maybe months, for it to get fixed. The mayor says he’ll take that on – news release ahead:

Mayor Greg Nickels announced today a proposal to allow Seattle
City Light to ramp up its street light repairs in 2009.

“We are committed to replacing and fixing street light fixtures as a
matter of public safety and good customer service,” Nickels said.

In April, City Light responded to the mayor’s call for no rate
increase in 2009 and to declining revenue from its surplus power sales
by cutting its 2009 operating and capital budgets. These cuts include
substantial restrictions in the use of overtime that result in longer
times to complete street light repairs and other services.

The city’s general fund pays City Light more than $9 million annually
for the costs of building, operating, and maintaining streetlights. The
mayor is proposing that $2.1 million allocated in the 2009-2010 general
fund budget for street light repairs be spent earlier to speed up street
lamp replacement.

Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Energy and Technology
Committee supports the plan. “Proper street lighting enhances the
safety and ambience of a thriving city and helps define its health,
culture and vibrancy. This change is a customer-focused approach that
provides cost-effective repair service to our valued residents and

By accelerating its work and assigning more crews on regular time to
repair street lamps, the utility’s goal by the end of 2009 is to
respond to reported outages within 10 days. Once that standard is met,
City Light will be able to maintain a consistent level of street light
work through 2010. City Light also will proceed with the second phase of
its “group relamping” project, which replaces all the streetlights
in an area and puts streetlights on a scheduled, replacement program to
reduce outages.

“The mayor’s action makes absolute sense and gives us a way to
improve our streetlight service immediately,” said City Light
Superintendent Jorge Carrasco.

8 Replies to "Burned up about the burnout backlog? Mayor's street-light plan"

  • CM May 27, 2009 (2:21 pm)

    Interesting. I first reported a light out back in November. There have been 4 seperate tickets that I have called in on that light by me alone, and each time I’m told that the issue has been elevated to management for “further escalation”.

    I’ve also been told there’s no power to that pole, even though it’s got a transformer on it and feeds three houses.

    This is also the only light on our block.


  • Tacoma Untapped May 27, 2009 (2:31 pm)

    Tacoma has a 1-2 day turn around once you report a streetlight out. What is the deal up there?

  • Eilis Flynn May 27, 2009 (2:33 pm)

    Well, CM, it’s an election year. They’ve got to talk as though they care.

    No power to the pole?! C’mon!

  • gene May 27, 2009 (2:59 pm)

    Wait, SCL is going to start replacing all the lamps on a street. Are they going to replace them with something like more efficient, longer lasting LEDs? Or are they going to just replace working lights with newer bulbs before they actually need to be replaced?

  • coffeeisgood May 27, 2009 (4:19 pm)

    I believe the report of no power, when we had a building outage last fall, after being partially restored and calling city light several times CL finally admitted to me that they didn’t have a clue as to why my building was not fully restored and they couldn’t tell me when it would be. It was frustrating. Plus I turned in the light pole out front of my business 5 times since last October and its still out and now 2 others are out.

  • rockyraccoon May 27, 2009 (4:54 pm)

    Gosh, this is great news! The mayor’s new commitment to replace burned out street lamps should be as effective as his assault on potholes. The streets are as smooth as pool tables now!

  • miws May 27, 2009 (5:28 pm)

    I wonder if we could somehow trick Tacoma Power into thinking that West Seattle, is (very, very,) North Tacoma! ;)



  • Mike May 27, 2009 (8:58 pm)


    To answer your question about LED streetlights, SCL is starting to look at LED fixtures. In fact, there are (at least) 3 blocks of city streets with LED street lights. One of the problems with LED lights are that they are still an emerging technology. Some of the lower wattages (70, 100, 150 watts) have progressed more than the higher wattages. Two of the most common wattages of streetlights is 250w and 400w. The technology is just beginning to hit the 250w fixtures but there is nothing commercially available for 400w (for what I know).

Sorry, comment time is over.