CUC’s new LED streetlights failing

| 29/11/2019 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service
A CUC Power Line Technician prepares to install an LED streetlight

(CNS): Caribbean Utilities Company (CUC) has revealed that its new streetlights are failing and it is working with the manufacturer to upgrade to a more robust design. In a press release, CUC said that an “abnormal number” of the new LED lights have been flickering continuously due to failing photocell activated switches. This premature failure is due to the impact of “heat and moisture”, which is exacerbated by power cuts such as this week’s outage, the company said.

CUC said it had deployed crews to replace the affected photocells but in the longer term it will be upgrading them. The rollout of the new lights is only in its second year of a five-year programme to replace the older high pressure sodium (HPS) lights with the more energy efficient LED lights. The upgrade is part of the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut costs for the National Roads Authority (NRA), which pays for the street lighting service.

But it appears the choice of lights has proved problematic.

CUC said the LED lights are not faulty, only the photocell switches. The rapid flickering of the switches, which sense the light and turn the streetlights on at dusk and off at dawn, lasts for a few days until the photocell fails permanently and the lights go off completely.

The company issued an apology to the public for the inconvenience the flickering streetlights have caused.


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Category: Business, utilities

Comments (27)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ugh….Had one that was flickering changed about two weeks ago. After the recent power cut the new light is now flickering.

  2. Anonymous says:

    You can hear some shit!! Did CUC let Government buy these lights for them? Seems like that!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    11.38am – you got that right – once again we will be made to pay for their mistakes. Remember Ivan? They made us pay for ever utility pole damaged. Only in Cayman!!!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Although the new lights are good for driving, I find they shine directly into me eyes as I approach, which is counter-productive.

    However, they are horrible in residential areas. The amount of light they produce is too bright. There is one outside our house, and it is not directed towards the road, instead partly shining towards our house. The amount of light that sneaks in through the 1/2″ crack in the side of the blackout blind is enough to literally light up the entire room. It’s awful. If you wake up during the night, it’s really hard to get back to sleep. Same goes in the children’s rooms. And the birds are confused too, many have stopped using that area of the garden entirely. We never even noticed the light until the bulb was changed to LED.

    I’m all for reducing consumption, but they need to drastically reduce the amount of light in residential areas.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Hate these new lights. They are entirely too harsh/bright and between that and the flickering they trigger my migraines. Not to mention the light pollution.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    But profits na fall lol

  7. Anonymous says:

    What expertise has Fortis brought to CUC? There are many US utilities that have installed LED street lights without the strobing issue. Look at FPL in Florida as a resource for getting it right. There are ways to control light pollution with LEDs as the light source (point of light origin) is directional, unlike incandescent, fluorescent, halogen and other light sources where the light travels in all directions (Omni-directional) from the source. LEDs can produce various light colours (Temperature) such as 3,000 kelvin (k), 4,000k, 5,000k. The higher the kelvin temperature the cooler the light appears. The lower kelvin temperature the warmer the light appears. People should see virtually no strobing with “good” quality LEDs. Old fluorescent lamps with magnetic ballasts were much more susceptible to visual strobing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You ask a good question. The bill paying public may not be aware but the addition of CUC to the Fortis Inc. portfolio was a benefit to them than to the CUC. Seems like the belizeans were the only smart ones….

    • Doctor says:

      You get what you pay for.

    • Anonymous says:

      How can these mistakes happen in the private sector.

      First all of the stealing because of poor internal controls

      Now this.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I love the new lights but I guess they are victims of their own power outages now also.

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  9. Rascal says:

    I like the new lights. Much easier to see when driving or walking at night.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The faulty photocells should be replaced by the manufacturer under warranty. It wasn’t like they didn’t know were they were shipping them to (hot, humid area). Ratepayers should not have to pay for this error.

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  11. iindie says:

    The core issue unfortunately is the poor state of the grid and the power distribution in cayman , you should not have to UPS every valuable piece of electronics in your home.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Probably something to do with supply fluctuations and spikes, if only they could blame someone else!!

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I find the new lights way too bright. Is it just me? I’m all for increased efficiency but I wish there was a “gentler” bulb available. Certainly hope they aren’t used near turtle nesting beaches as they certainly appear a helluvalot brighter than the moon.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No it isn’t. In the UK they’ve had to replace 1000s of LED streetlights because of this. Sounds like CUC went for the cheapest option and it’s bitten them in the arse.

      They need ‘warm white’ not the the blue bright lights.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I like them. Occasional flickering included. I can see& avoid pedestrians in dark clothing much better.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Get used to it. Wherever these LED lights are being installed they’re having problems with them.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    These flickering disco streetlights give me seizures. I’m going to sue CUC for this!

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  16. I live here. This is my home. says:

    …The upgrade is part of the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut costs for the National Roads Authority ..

    But what about its detrimental effect on people’s health? Who is a watchdog here when it comes to implementing new technology without regard for the consequences that such changes may have in the ability of the organisms (people and wildlife) to survive, thrive and reproduce? Light pollution from the white and blue lamps is three times more disruptive than those with yellow, amber or greenish hues. DOE?

    Manitoba Hydro downplays seizure concerns about strobing street lights.
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/led-lights-winnipeg-malfuctions-1.4469972

    LED Lighting Flicker and Potential Health Concerns: https://ece.northeastern.edu/groups/power/lehman/Publications/Pub2010/2010_9_Wilkins.pdf

    New street lights flickering and flashing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAOZxP-ufTY

    LEDs: Fighting Flicker
    The onset of LEDs in lighting has brought manufacturers and designers back to the drawing board to discuss an age-old problem https://www.archlighting.com/technology/leds-fighting-flicker_o

    LED lights are affecting wildlife by turning night into midday, according to scientists
    https://www.scotsman.com/read-this/led-lights-are-affecting-wildlife-by-turning-night-into-midday-according-to-scientists/

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you think they care about one’s health or envorinment? All you have to do is take a drive by CUC compound and check out the black smoke from the generators every single day! Why for such a small island and with sunshine 365 days per year, why are they not investing in solar? These new LED lights reminds me of the Government’s CCTV deal…..SMH.

      • Anonymous says:

        The solar grid you buy today with xx amount of millions could be buy a grid with 4x the capacity for the same price in a decade or two. Not to mention the need for large scale battery technology to get a little better.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Street light flickering is a new hazard.

    * Some people seem to be very sensitive to this light modulation, resulting in headaches, migraine and less specific feelings of malaise. However, most people will experience phantom arrays. [This] happens when you move your eyes quickly when behind a car with its brake lights on, particularly in the dark, and there is the risk of a stroboscopic effect. This effect may manifest itself as moving objects appearing to jump, rather than move smoothly.
    * High levels of blue light are known to cause damage to the retina in the eye. This only tends to be a problem for blue LEDs and not for white-light LED sources containing a blue LED and a yellow phosphor.
    * Flicker can be bad for your health. Even if it is so fast that you can’t see it and are unaware of it, it can cause headaches and eyestrain and interfere with the control of eye movements.
    * LEDs that don’t flicker are not much more expensive – they have a similar retail price to those that do flicker.
    * some LEDs flicker even more than the worst fluorescent lighting

    (laser and optical radiation safety)

    Some Phoenix LED street lights turning into strobes https://www.azfamily.com/news/investigations/cbs_5_investigates/some-phoenix-led-street-lights-turning-into-strobes/article_18bba0f8-3bd5-11e9-8536-8b744da39fd3.html

  18. Anonymous says:

    Guess we will be getting the new increased light bill once they get their invoice for the new street light upgrade to replace the current street light upgrade.

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