Seattle City Light says it’s stepped up streetlight replacement

Last February, we reported on the “burnout backlog” – thousands of Seattle City Light streetlights awaiting repair. In February, there was word of a plan to speed it up by moving up some spending. Now, a progress report – read on:

In the month since Mayor Greg Nickels accelerated funding for streetlight replacement and repair, Seattle City Light has replaced 3,000 lights as part of its continuing relamping program and completed relamping work in Belltown.

“City Light recognizes the importance of good street lighting for our residents, local businesses and neighborhoods,” Superintendent Jorge Carrasco said. “It improves safety and promotes community pride. We are working hard to make improvements as quickly as possible.”

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

City Light started a planned relamping program in 2008 to systematically replace streetlight bulbs before they failed. During the four-year period that started in 2008, City Light plans to replace all 84,000 lights in its service territory. This approach reduces streetlight failures and maintenance costs.

With part of the accelerated funding, crews completed relamping work in the Belltown neighborhood July 1. They are now concentrating on the Downtown core and the International District. The contractor working for City Light is scheduled to install 21,000 new lamps by December as part of the 2009 relamping project.

Also in the first month since receiving the accelerated funding, City Light has reduced the backlog of streetlights needing repair by 14 percent to about 3,700 lights. City Light’s goal is to eliminate the backlog and reduce average repair time to 10 days by the end of the year.

But still report a burned-out streetlight as soon as you see it – here’s how.

7 Replies to "Seattle City Light says it's stepped up streetlight replacement"

  • Bonnie July 24, 2009 (4:08 pm)

    Let’s hope so. 2 lights on our street have been out since December and we and the neighbors have called repeatedly. Nothing yet.

  • Sue July 24, 2009 (4:42 pm)

    Our light was just replaced this week. I called about it last October.

    Miracles do happen, although we may have to wait longer than we would like.

  • MrJT July 24, 2009 (6:43 pm)

    How about we put the PR people to work changing the bulbs instead of telling us they are GOING to be changed ?

  • Light-lover July 24, 2009 (7:41 pm)

    Another point, what about all the streetlights that are stuck on, 24/7? I’ve personally reported a half-dozen “always on” last March. I wonder how much electricity is wasted by that? It’s a very frustrating lack of action by our “green” mayor.

  • ALA July 24, 2009 (8:00 pm)

    I want to find out how to get a rotten power pole replaced. Anyone know how to do that?

  • TIm July 25, 2009 (1:46 pm)

    Ug. How do I get street lights removed? The only strong evidence about street lights and crime is that they make people feel safer, not that crime is actually reduced. And I can’t see the stars at night…
    What evidence there is suggests
    1. keep INDOOR lights on to make burglars believe someone is home.
    2. Aim outdoor lights directly down – not out. Only a 150 watt bulb max – otherwise it is too hard for someone far away to identify the person at the door. (and Cameras work better with less lighting contrast too.)
    3. Consider NO outdoor lights in some areas – a thief without a light provided has to use a flashlight, which draws too much attention.

    Let’s not be afraid of the dark – there isn’t much evidence that break-ins happen more at night in most places – not even stranger rapes…(Though acquaintance and date rapes do happen at night, but that is obviously not related to the lighting.)

  • Scott Thomsen July 28, 2009 (11:13 am)


    If you encounter a broken utility pole, please contact Seattle City Light’s call center at 684-3000 to report it.

    Scott Thomsen
    Sr. Strategic Advisor, Communications & Public Affairs
    Seattle City Light

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