BC Hydro's street light replacement program

BC Hydro owns and maintains over 95,000 street lights attached to our poles. Most of these street lights are high pressure sodium (HPS), with the rest made up of mercury vapor lights. We know there’s a lot of interest in how and when we’re converting these street lights to LEDs.

We've been planning for the conversion to more energy-efficient LED street lights, including understanding and evaluating the technology available in the marketplace. LED street lights will last about 20 years, so we need to ensure the new LED street lights we select provide the best benefits for customers.

Timeline for LED streetlight replacement

We've completed our technology review and developed our standards for LED street lights to replace existing HPS and mercury vapor street lights. We've also pre-qualified prospective vendors who can supply LED street lights that meet our standards.

The vendor will be selected later in 2019. Once we have the final LED street light costs, we will develop new LED street light rates for the Overhead Street Lighting rate (Rate Schedule 1701) and submit an application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) to update the Electric Tariff.

The province-wide replacement of 95,000 street lights requires detailed planning and coordination. We will contact street lighting customers in early 2020 to provide more information and details about what you need to do to prepare.

We anticipate starting the conversion to LED street lights in summer 2020, with the conversion taking place over the following three years.

New LED street lights

Procurement of LED street lights hasn’t been finalized. However, we expect to offer multiple LED street light options that provide equivalent lighting to the current HPS street lights (100W, 150W and 200W). Multiple colour temperature options may also be available. We’ll provide detailed product information once we select a vendor and confirm the LED street light products available for our customers.

Frequently asked questions

We anticipate the conversion will take approximately three and a half years to complete, or sometime in late 2023.

We don't have a deployment schedule yet. Once we select an installation vendor, we will work with them to determine the most efficient and cost-effective deployment schedule. A high-level deployment schedule will be available online. We'll contact and coordinate with customers months in advance of the work beginning in your community.

You can take advantage of 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 you no longer need and change current lighting levels. We'll provide you an inventory of your existing street lights closer to the deployment for you to review and confirm your lighting needs.

BC Hydro does not provide street lighting design services. We'll provide you with a list of the default LED replacements that are equivalent to your current HPS or mercury vapor lights. You will need to confirm if the default replacement LED street lights meet your needs.

If you want to change your lighting design, you will need to work with your lighting design consultant. Because every customer's needs are different, lighting design is the responsibility of the city.

The details of new rates won't be known until we complete our procurement process and confirm the final LED street light costs for our rate application to the BCUC. The final LED street light rates require BCUC approval.

We plan to file a rate design application with the BCUC in 2020. We're currently consulting with some communities on a LED street light rate structure to ensure that existing customer needs are considered and accommodated.

To ensure all customers are treated fairly, we will be developing a transition rate during the deployment so that all customers receive the same financial benefit regardless of when the deployment occurs. All customers will be charged the same rates once we start deploying LED street lights.

We will be contacting customers starting in early 2020 to provide specific information about the conversion. This will include access to a list of your existing street lights and the LED replacement options. You will need to confirm your preference prior to the conversion.

In the meantime, street light replacement program updates will be added to this page as they become available.

Because you need to select the LED replacement option prior to the conversion starting, it's important that you know what street lights you currently have and whether or not you need to make changes. We encourage you to have an inventory of existing street lights and to assess your street lighting design needs.

It's also important that we have the correct contact information for the person responsible for street lighting in your city. Email us with the contact information.

In addition, we'll be contacting customers using the email address associated to their MyHydro Profile (if the customer has online accounts) and mailing address for the bill.

Street light replacement program updates will be added to this page as they become available.