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Long Delay for New Street Lights in Brisbane & Ipswich

Brisbane City Council and Ipswich City Council have directed that all new street light designs must specify LED street lights. That's a great idea, but the trouble is that the LED street lights which we can install will not be available until late-July at the earliest.  

Street lighting designs which were approved with compact fluorescents are presently being constructed, but construction has now commenced on subdivisions which have been designed with LED street lights. Those LED lights will be required starting next week, but they just won't be available. So the new roads will remain dark for three months or more.

Why has this problem arisen?

Energex and/or councils require us to specify street lights that are listed in the Queensland Public Lighting Manual. For over a year now, that Manual has included a range of LED street lights. However, until recently, Energex has not allowed these LED street lights to be used. Under pressure from councils, Energex has now relented, and will allow the installation of a limited range of LED street lights. So Brisbane and Ipswich City Councils announced that would accept only LEDs in new designs.

What these councils failed to take into consideration, however, was that the manufacturer, Gerard Lighting, has not even commenced production of the lights, and they will not do so until that have received the first order.  After that, the routine of initial assembly, type testing, then production of the first batch, will take at least 12 weeks. But that process has not even started yet, because Energex and Gerard Lighting have yet to sign the contract for supply of the LED lights.

Our guess is that the LED street lights will not be available until late July, at the earliest. Until then, new subdivisions in Brisbane and Ipswich will have no street lights.

Why not continue installing compact fluroescents?

That is the obvious question. Why not keep installing compact fluorescent street lights until LEDs are available?  We asked both councils, but they were quite definite. They would not back down. The technology that we have been using until now is no longer acceptable.

Whose liability?

Plans for new subdivisions will be registered long before the street lights have been commissioned, so the dedicated roads will be unlit.  Who will be liable for traffic accidents or crime in these unlit roads?  Surely that would have to be the Councils, because of their refusal to accept the alternative technology.

Our conclusion

Just as the mad rush to adopt environmentally friendly power generation has produced unwelcome side effects (high prices and unreliable supply), so the premature move to LED street lighting in Brisbane and Ipswich also has a down side, which will soon become apparent.