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Let there be LED: Joburg installs energy-saving street lights

05 August 2022 - 12:17
City Power is changing to power-saving LED street lights. File photo.
City Power is changing to power-saving LED street lights. File photo.
Image: Eugene Coetzee

City Power has added 2,000 LED street lights to the streets of Johannesburg.

Michael Sun, MMC for the environment and infrastructure services department, said the energy services company’s project to retrofit all Johannesburg street lights with LED technology was moving at pace.

On Friday he said the city is moving towards energy-saving and environmentally-friendly lights.

“I’m delighted this pilot project is beginning to improve Johannesburg’s energy position and positively impact the lives of our residents.

“The LED units City Power is deploying will on average save five times more energy than the old street light technology being replaced, reducing pressure on our already strained network and conserving energy that will ultimately help prevent outages.”

Sun said more than 2,000 LED street lights were installed at the end of July.

According to the government’s Energy Star symbol used to identify energy efficiency on a product, LED (light-emitting diode) lighting emits light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent bulbs. 

They work by passing an electrical current through a microchip which illuminates the tiny light sources called LEDs.

Sun said the LED units conserve significant amounts of power and provide a pure white light that shines further and assists security initiatives.

The units have built-in meters that will measure consumption in Eskom-supplied areas. 

Sun said this would prevent a reliance on estimations when billing was processed.

With a 10 to 15 year lifespan, the LED units will save City Power significant maintenance hours that can be redirected to upgrading the network and dealing with outages and cable theft
Michael Sun, Gauteng MMC for the environment and infrastructure services

“With a 10 to 15 year lifespan, the LED units will save City Power significant maintenance hours that can be redirected to upgrading the network and dealing with outages and cable theft. 

“However, the energy, funds and working hours that will be saved through the project will only be beneficial if communities help ensure vandals and cable thieves stay far away from the new LED units.”

Theft and vandalism of street lights and other City Power infrastructure remains rife in spite of efforts by City Power, the Joburg metro police department and SAPS. Joburg residents are encouraged to promptly report damaged electrical infrastructure or suspicious behaviour in their communities.

Sun emphasised the city needed evidence to open cases against cable thieves. He said the entity needed help from the community with information on cable theft to ensure jail time for stealing and destroying infrastructure.

“City Power has several hotlines and a WhatsApp number where residents can call the alarm on cable theft”

A cable thief was sentenced to 12 years in prison last month for stealing City Power cabling in Honeydew in September last year.

“The conviction was only possible through community involvement after residents reported the incident to City Power.”

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