Street light replacement project
BC Hydro owns and maintains over 90,000 street lights attached to our poles located across the province. We’ve been replacing these with energy-efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to ensure compliance with new federal regulations that require all light ballasts containing Poly-Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) be removed by the end of 2025.
These new street lights will help improve public safety in your community by increasing the visibility of sidewalks and roads at night, as well as help reduce light pollution. LEDs also last longer and require less maintenance.
New street light rate
The BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) approved our application to update our overhead streetlight rate (Rate Schedule 1701).
Where we’re at
We started replacing lights in the first communities in early 2020 and will complete the replacement in all communities by mid-2023.
Selecting your new LED lights
Customers can select the LED wattage and colour temperature to replace each of your current street lights. The information below is to help guide you through your selections.
If you were unable to attend or want to review the materials from our virtual information session held in September 2020, see the session slides [PDF, 833 KB].
Colour temperature is a way to describe the light colour given off by a light bulb. It is measured in degrees of Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. The higher the Kelvin rating, the whiter the light; the lower the Kelvin rating the more yellow the light.
There are two colour temperature options for you to select from for your new LED street lights – 3000K (warm white) and 4000K (cool white). The two options can be used for different areas in your community, depending on their purpose. Both will give off a whiter light than your current high pressure sodium vapor (HPS) street lights, which are around 2300K and appear more orange.
Both options are used broadly across the industry. Some municipalities have used a mix of 3000K and 4000K for different areas, others have selected one or the other. Street light customers can select which colour temperature you would like for each individual light, or you can choose the same colour temperature for all.
The table below shows the approximate difference between the two colour temperatures to help you make your lighting selections.
Technical lighting specs
To help you with selecting your lights, see our comparison chart [PDF, 221 KB] of the LED options available to you.
If you’re using a lighting design software program, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) files can be downloaded here [ZIP, 220 KB]
If you need help with your lighting design, we encourage you to hire a lighting design consultant as BC Hydro does not provide this service. BC Hydro's Alliance of Energy Professionals can provide you with referral to qualified lighting consultants.
Frequently asked questions: installation and light selection
We anticipate this project will be completed by mid-2023.
We’ve contacted and are working with remaining customers whose communities are on the installation schedule in 2023.
Through this project, you'll have the opportunity to review and update your lighting design. For example, you can add street lights in darker areas where there are existing BC Hydro poles, remove street lights that are no longer needed and change current lighting levels. It’s important to note that there will be an additional cost to modify your lights or add additional ones.
We’ve contacted customers based on our installation schedule to provide specific information about the conversion. This will include a list of your existing street lights and the LED replacement options. You'll need to confirm your selections prior to installation.
We encourage you to maintain an inventory of existing street lights and to assess your street lighting design needs to determine if you need to make changes to your lights.
It's also important that we continue to have the correct contact information for the individual responsible for street lighting in your community. Please email us if you need to update your contact information.
The installation of LED street lights is to meet federal regulations. Therefore, customers who want to continue using BC Hydro’s street lighting service are unable to opt-out.
In 2008, new federal regulations were enacted that require all light ballasts containing Poly-Chlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) greater than 50 ppm be removed by the end of 2025.
Frequently asked questions: street light rate
The overhead street lighting rate (rate schedule 1701) is a flat monthly rate per light based on the wattage of the street light. In addition to the estimated electricity used, the monthly rate also includes the costs for transmission and distribution, the street light assets, installation, and ongoing maintenance.
Although LED street lights are more energy-efficient, BC Hydro will incur considerable costs to convert existing lights to LEDs. These costs will need to be recovered through a new rate.
To ensure all customers are treated fairly, all customers will be charged the same rates once we start installing LED street lights.
While LEDs are more energy-efficient than high-pressure sodium street lights and require less maintenance, converting all street lights in the province to meet federal regulations does have significant costs, including removing existing street lights prior to their end-of-life and before they are paid off. This means the energy and maintenance savings associated with LEDs will be offset by the associated capital costs of buying and installing the LEDs.
On February 12, 2020, the BCUC approved an interim temporary supplemental charge intended to recover the undepreciated value of current street lights being removed before their end of life. Effective May 1, 2021, a charge of $2.06 per month, per street light for all street lights will be billed to accounts under Rate Schedule 1701. The charge will end on March 31, 2024.