running cost of street light

A man is paying £295 for the street lights in his village to be put back on for a few months. So how much does a street light cost to run?

Conwy County Borough Council in North Wales puts the running costs into its sums and in 2007 it paid £1.15 per week (16p a night) per street light . But Peter Adderley, one of its street lighting engineers, says the 2008 figure, which has yet to be calculated, is likely to be much higher, given that energy costs have risen by 60% in the last year.

Maintenance, which includes replacing lamps, has risen by about 3%, so it would be reasonable to estimate the real cost of operating a street light for one night is currently about 27p a night.

The lamps used in streetlights vary in both size and consumption, but are typically between 35 and 400 watts, says Mr. Adderley.

Many of the street lights in Conwy are in residential areas and use energy-efficient, low-pressure sodium bulbs, which are between 35 and 55 watts, he says.

Traffic routes have lamps with 150-watt bulbs and town centers have the strongest bulbs of between 250 and 400 watts. Assume that a typical street light requires about 150 watts of power and burns an average of 12 hrs per day. That comes to 1800 watt-hours or 1.8 kW-hrs. 

Further, assume that electricity costs about $0.11 per kW-hr. With these assumptions, the daily cost of electricity is about $0.20, and the average hourly cost would be a little less than a penny. 

This doesn’t include the cost of the bulb (if it’s a mercury vapor lamp, there might also be the cost of disposal as hazardous waste), nor does it include the cost for labor and equipment to occasionally replace the bulb. In addition, municipalities running street lights may get a discount on the cost of electricity because they use a lot of it.

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