It is estimated that more than 50% of US street lights are owned by utility companies. Utility companies are important players in the development of modern energy-efficient street lamps.
Many utility companies have recognized the benefits of deploying LED and are building smart road lighting platforms to improve customer service, meet municipal energy reduction targets, and increase their bottom line by reducing maintenance costs.
However, some utility companies have been slow to play a leading role. They are often worried about the impact on existing business models, not sure how to balance regulatory and non-regulatory opportunities, and do not consider it necessary to reduce energy consumption during off-peak hours. But not taking action is no longer a viable option. Public utility companies that resist change are increasingly being challenged by cities and municipalities as they see opportunities to reduce energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.
Utilities that are still uncertain about their street lighting strategy can learn a lot from some trend-setting companies. Georgia Power is one of the pioneers of street lighting services in North America, and its lighting team manages approximately 900,000 street lights in its territory.
The utility company has launched LED products and is responsible for one of the world’s largest networked lighting control systems. Since 2015, Georgia Power has implemented networked lighting control for nearly 300,000 baht of its 400,000 regulated street lights under its management. The company also controls about 500,000 unregulated area lights (such as parks, stadiums, campuses) that are currently being upgraded.
Georgia Power and its customers have already made huge gains from the project. The development of IoT technology has helped the lighting management team resolve long-term issues surrounding asset management and maintenance programs. In addition, it has also innovated in terms of services, such as fixed equipment metering and usage time charges. The company provides an important reference for utility companies that want to realize their benefits and respond to the challenges of smart streetlights.
Research institute Navigant Research defines intelligent road lighting as “using advanced technology to achieve efficient operation, monitoring, and management of street lights, which is a strategic indicator for smart cities.” Intelligent road lighting relies on a number of advanced technologies, including sensors, control nodes, gateways, cameras, wireless communications, and data analysis.