Author Topic: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood  (Read 368 times)

bronedproudem

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A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« on: December 24, 2017, 06:10:22 PM »
I live on a block that is really two blocks stuck together, without a street running between them.  My lot would have been a corner lot if the street was there, so I'm in the middle of the long block.  In front of my house and down the stopped street a bit, is a street light which prevents me from effectively utilizing my drive method for astronomy.  The other two street lights which concern me straight are about the ends of the long block and tend to shine down the length of rear yards.  These two end lights do not bother me too much, unless forget and stand up quickly, allowing their light to hit my eyes over the six foot privacy fence.

Going for a walk a couple nights ago, I discovered that both of the finish street lights were all out.  I have no idea why.  Each of the additional street lights in the overall area appear to be working.  It's kind of strange that both would have gone out in the exact same time, but I am not complaining.  I am not going to report the lack either!  Nor I will inquire and see if anyone had asked that they're turned off!

I will watch and see how nicely public apathy and also corporate inefficiency work to my advantage!  I found the street lights outside on December 22nd.  Assuming I can remember to, just for grins, I'll report back once they get repaired.



Matt Marquez

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2017, 07:29:33 PM »
Repairing exterior lighting is a very low priority for utilities unless there's a complaint.  Not much margin to be produced from light due to high cost of maintenance.

Mortimer Concepcion

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2017, 01:43:46 AM »
I have worked in power plants for pretty much my entire working carrier. The first time I walked into a plant to go to work was 45 years ago this last June. Since I work for a utility, I know a little about the value of street lighting, and one of the reasons it is difficult to get things turned off. Normally, the price of power for street lighting is very low due to the very low use of electricity during the night compared to the daytime.

A lot of times, there is a struggle to get enough load to keep units on line at night that are needed to produce power during the daytime. There are minimum loads at which a unit can run. Sometimes those are real physical limits and sometimes they are imposed due to an emmissions limit that would be exceeded if a particular unit is run at a lower load.

Startups and shutdowns are the toughest times in a physical sense due to the additional thermal strains on various pieces of equipment with physical material failures occuring more often when there are a lot of startups and shutdowns. As an example, some of our gas turbines are supposed to have a turbine overhaul every 450 starts. The overhaul kits, just the parts, for an overhaul of one of the gas turbines is ten million dollars, or was about ten years ago. It may be a lot higher now.

On conventional steam powered units, startup time can be up to 24 hours if a unit is cold and maybe 12 hours if it is hot, depending a lot on the particular design and size of the unit. This can impact the availability of power the next day or at least put more risk into not having enough.

Keeping enough power usage going to keep from taking units on and off has a great impact on the reliability of the system and in some cases can even help keep prices down. Though one or two individual lights being off does not mean much, the effect of having many off can have a great impact on the system as a whole.

The development of electic cars, with their batteries needing to be charged at night, and other electrical needs that could be met during these off times could have a great deal of impact on the reception we get from the utilities when we want to have less light shining in the sky at night. Anything that can be done to minimize the differences between maximum and minimum load levels around the clock can benefit everyone, one way or another.

belohalcu

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2017, 01:22:01 AM »
Quote
Fixing outdoor lighting is a low priority for utilities unless there is a complaint.

Absent a complaint, the utility has no way to know a light is out.

belmadeasus

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2017, 05:26:05 PM »
Quote
I have worked in power plants for pretty much my entire working carrier. The first time I walked into a plant to go to work was 45 years ago this last June. Since I work for a utility, I know a little about the value of street lighting, and one of the reasons it is difficult to get things turned off. Normally, the price of power for street lighting is very low due to the very low use of electricity during the night compared to the daytime.

A lot of times, there is a struggle to get enough load to keep units on line at night that are needed to produce power during the daytime. There are minimum loads at which a unit can run. Sometimes those are real physical limits and sometimes they are imposed due to an emmissions limit that would be exceeded if a particular unit is run at a lower load.

Startups and shutdowns are the toughest times in a physical sense due to the additional thermal strains on various pieces of equipment with physical material failures occuring more often when there are a lot of startups and shutdowns. As an example, some of our gas turbines are supposed to have a turbine overhaul every 450 starts. The overhaul kits, just the parts, for an overhaul of one of the gas turbines is ten million dollars, or was about ten years ago. It may be a lot higher now.

On conventional steam powered units, startup time can be up to 24 hours if a unit is cold and maybe 12 hours if it is hot, depending a lot on the particular design and size of the unit. This can impact the availability of power the next day or at least put more risk into not having enough.

Keeping enough power usage going to keep from taking units on and off has a great impact on the reliability of the system and in some cases can even help keep prices down. Though one or two individual lights being off does not mean much, the effect of having many off can have a great impact on the system as a whole.

The development of electic cars, with their batteries needing to be charged at night, and other electrical needs that could be met during these off times could have a great deal of impact on the reception we get from the utilities when we want to have less light shining in the sky at night. Anything that can be done to minimize the differences between maximum and minimum load levels around the clock can benefit everyone, one way or another.

If this is how power companies operate we are doomed. Not only when it comes to emissions being high but expecting them to cut back on light pollution. It sounds like these plants need to develop a completely different type of turbine. Running 24/7 at full bore can't be good for anything except the equipment.We are told to conserve. They even send out flyers telling you how to cut your power usage.Yet your saying that's exactly what power companies don't want us to do.

Levi Cruse

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 02:12:43 AM »
Quote
I have worked in power plants for pretty much my entire working carrier. The first time I walked into a plant to go to work was 45 years ago this last June. Since I work for a utility, I know a little about the value of street lighting, and one of the reasons it is difficult to get things turned off. Normally, the price of power for street lighting is very low due to the very low use of electricity during the night compared to the daytime.

A lot of times, there is a struggle to get enough load to keep units on line at night that are needed to produce power during the daytime. There are minimum loads at which a unit can run. Sometimes those are real physical limits and sometimes they are imposed due to an emmissions limit that would be exceeded if a particular unit is run at a lower load.

Startups and shutdowns are the toughest times in a physical sense due to the additional thermal strains on various pieces of equipment with physical material failures occuring more often when there are a lot of startups and shutdowns. As an example, some of our gas turbines are supposed to have a turbine overhaul every 450 starts. The overhaul kits, just the parts, for an overhaul of one of the gas turbines is ten million dollars, or was about ten years ago. It may be a lot higher now.

On conventional steam powered units, startup time can be up to 24 hours if a unit is cold and maybe 12 hours if it is hot, depending a lot on the particular design and size of the unit. This can impact the availability of power the next day or at least put more risk into not having enough.

Keeping enough power usage going to keep from taking units on and off has a great impact on the reliability of the system and in some cases can even help keep prices down. Though one or two individual lights being off does not mean much, the effect of having many off can have a great impact on the system as a whole.

The development of electic cars, with their batteries needing to be charged at night, and other electrical needs that could be met during these off times could have a great deal of impact on the reception we get from the utilities when we want to have less light shining in the sky at night. Anything that can be done to minimize the differences between maximum and minimum load levels around the clock can benefit everyone, one way or another.


Bill, thank you for this information; coming as it does from an unusual perspective that the vast majority of the public is totally unaware of and never considers, it may prove very useful in the future regarding light pollution issues. Stopping and/or starting large turbines is a serious, difficult business which isn't undertaken lightly; one gets the impression that the public's impression of electricityflowing from a socket is akin to their perception of where the wrapped cuts of meat in the supermarket comes from, since as long as it is readily available little or no thought is given to the specific methods and fine points of creation and supply.

Has the industry yet come to grips with the proliferation of LED streetlights, which due to their relatively low power consumption will not be nearly as effective a nightime load as current lights? I can see this as creating massive headaches for power managers if adopted widely and too rapidly.

kocewaffre

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 08:53:05 PM »
Quote
If this is how power companies operate we are doomed. Not only when it comes to emissions being high but expecting them to cut back on light pollution. It sounds like these plants need to develop a completely different type of turbine. Running 24/7 at full bore can't be good for anything except the equipment.We are told to conserve. They even send out flyers telling you how to cut your power usage.Yet your saying that's exactly what power companies don't want us to do.

There really isn't any reasonable alternative to such a scheme; it's an economy of scale. The massive turbines needed to supply even a fraction of a major city's electrical needs cannot realistically be replaced by a series of smaller, more-easily started and stopped ones. Supplying power to the grid is akin to a delicate, ever-changing dance requiring great balance and control, and a minimum amount of reserve is absolutely needed to prevent brownouts and blackouts; thus, the need to match expected load to generation equipment. Trouble is, the load can be quite unpredictable at times, and the vast majority of the electricity produced cannot be stored and must be utilized as produced (although there are some small hydroelectric generation plants that use water in reservoirs to mitigate this effect by using grid power to run pumps to fill the basin when demand is slack, and then supply power back the grid during times when demand is very high).

What would make sense at this juncture would be to gradually have more power co-generated locally, via small hydro and natural gas plants, but this will add substantially to the cost per KwH. Of course, now that our beneficent and ever-caring government has seen fit to take a substantial portion of our coal-fired plants off-line, prices for electricity are set to skyrocket; thus such schema would only add to the pain. Our wallets will soon demand conservation on a unprecedented sale; street lighting might be cut, but the police sta...er, "security considerations" will undoubtedly trump such concerns.

cromsotejbi

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 09:43:51 AM »
Quote
Quote

I have worked in power plants for pretty much my entire working carrier. The first time I walked into a plant to go to work was 45 years ago this last June. Since I work for a utility, I know a little about the value of street lighting, and one of the reasons it is difficult to get things turned off. Normally, the price of power for street lighting is very low due to the very low use of electricity during the night compared to the daytime.

A lot of times, there is a struggle to get enough load to keep units on line at night that are needed to produce power during the daytime. There are minimum loads at which a unit can run. Sometimes those are real physical limits and sometimes they are imposed due to an emmissions limit that would be exceeded if a particular unit is run at a lower load.

Startups and shutdowns are the toughest times in a physical sense due to the additional thermal strains on various pieces of equipment with physical material failures occuring more often when there are a lot of startups and shutdowns. As an example, some of our gas turbines are supposed to have a turbine overhaul every 450 starts. The overhaul kits, just the parts, for an overhaul of one of the gas turbines is ten million dollars, or was about ten years ago. It may be a lot higher now.

On conventional steam powered units, startup time can be up to 24 hours if a unit is cold and maybe 12 hours if it is hot, depending a lot on the particular design and size of the unit. This can impact the availability of power the next day or at least put more risk into not having enough.

Keeping enough power usage going to keep from taking units on and off has a great impact on the reliability of the system and in some cases can even help keep prices down. Though one or two individual lights being off does not mean much, the effect of having many off can have a great impact on the system as a whole.

The development of electic cars, with their batteries needing to be charged at night, and other electrical needs that could be met during these off times could have a great deal of impact on the reception we get from the utilities when we want to have less light shining in the sky at night. Anything that can be done to minimize the differences between maximum and minimum load levels around the clock can benefit everyone, one way or another.

If this is how power companies operate we are doomed. Not only when it comes to emissions being high but expecting them to cut back on light pollution. It sounds like these plants need to develop a completely different type of turbine. Running 24/7 at full bore can't be good for anything except the equipment.We are told to conserve. They even send out flyers telling you how to cut your power usage.Yet your saying that's exactly what power companies don't want us to do.
No, that is NOT what I am saying. I am saying that load is dropped off of the units until they reach the bottom of their load range. They cannot go any lower during the low load times. The next step is to take the units off line. It is not like just flipping a switch and everything turns off or flipping a switch and everything turns on.

The differences between full load and minimum load during the day is too great and creates a lot of inefficiencies in several ways. Building new power plants is extremely expensive and, in some cases, extremely difficult to get the various permits to do so. Getting people to do things that cut back power consumption in the peak times helps keep from having to build additional power plants at great expense.

For a power company, even the largest ones, building a new power plant compares well with the average working person buying a house. The economic life of a power plant is normally 30 to 60 years. Plus, if people had to go through a permitting process like a power plant goes through, very few people would ever buy a house.

As far as getting more adaptable units go, you don't just snap your fingers and have a better technology. There has to actually be something better out there to be bought and that technology has to be available. There are new things under development and some different engineering cycles that are under development and look very promising. The bugs still hav to be worked out before anything commercial can be built. The obstacles are great and I can promise you that you would be outraged at the price you would pay for power if a mass changes were made in power production equipment. Many people would be going back to oil lamps, outside clothes lines, and other things like that.

Shifting load from the high load times to low load helps keep needed units on line and may even allow them to be kept at a more efficient load point. At low loads, power plants are normal operating at their most inefficient point. Having more than the rock bottom load point on all the dispatchers to load units in a more efficient way and still have enough units on line for the high loads the next day.

The most cost effective way to solve many of the problems related to the power industry is for you and me to make changes in the way we do things. Switching load usage to the night time where it is practical is one of those that can help.

I don't really want to start a long dialog about the power industry here. I do not think this is the place for that. What I am trying to point out is that the street and security lighting is a very important use of the very minimum amount of power than needs to be produced at night. Rather than being an issue related to making money, it is related more to survival of the system and having power available to carry on our lives in the day time. In order to affect the amount of power that is used for lighting at night, there has to be an alternate load demand for that power. Otherwise, important portions of the power industry will not be listening.

subliliva

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2018, 08:41:06 AM »
Quote
Quote

I have worked in power plants for pretty much my entire working carrier. The first time I walked into a plant to go to work was 45 years ago this last June. Since I work for a utility, I know a little about the value of street lighting, and one of the reasons it is difficult to get things turned off. Normally, the price of power for street lighting is very low due to the very low use of electricity during the night compared to the daytime.

A lot of times, there is a struggle to get enough load to keep units on line at night that are needed to produce power during the daytime. There are minimum loads at which a unit can run. Sometimes those are real physical limits and sometimes they are imposed due to an emmissions limit that would be exceeded if a particular unit is run at a lower load.

Startups and shutdowns are the toughest times in a physical sense due to the additional thermal strains on various pieces of equipment with physical material failures occuring more often when there are a lot of startups and shutdowns. As an example, some of our gas turbines are supposed to have a turbine overhaul every 450 starts. The overhaul kits, just the parts, for an overhaul of one of the gas turbines is ten million dollars, or was about ten years ago. It may be a lot higher now.

On conventional steam powered units, startup time can be up to 24 hours if a unit is cold and maybe 12 hours if it is hot, depending a lot on the particular design and size of the unit. This can impact the availability of power the next day or at least put more risk into not having enough.

Keeping enough power usage going to keep from taking units on and off has a great impact on the reliability of the system and in some cases can even help keep prices down. Though one or two individual lights being off does not mean much, the effect of having many off can have a great impact on the system as a whole.

The development of electic cars, with their batteries needing to be charged at night, and other electrical needs that could be met during these off times could have a great deal of impact on the reception we get from the utilities when we want to have less light shining in the sky at night. Anything that can be done to minimize the differences between maximum and minimum load levels around the clock can benefit everyone, one way or another.


Bill, thank you for this information; coming as it does from an unusual perspective that the vast majority of the public is totally unaware of and never considers, it may prove very useful in the future regarding light pollution issues. Stopping and/or starting large turbines is a serious, difficult business which isn't undertaken lightly; one gets the impression that the public's impression of electricityflowing from a socket is akin to their perception of where the wrapped cuts of meat in the supermarket comes from, since as long as it is readily available little or no thought is given to the specific methods and fine points of creation and supply.

Has the industry yet come to grips with the proliferation of LED streetlights, which due to their relatively low power consumption will not be nearly as effective a nightime load as current lights? I can see this as creating massive headaches for power managers if adopted widely and too rapidly.
I have not heard anything and I am not really in a place to hear any discussion about it. However, I believe the replacement of lighting in terms of whole systems will take such a long time that it will not have a great effect. The general decrease in power consumption from LED lights will most likely match the increase in the number of lights installed. The difference could be a wash.

From a light pollution perspective, new lights replacing old ones with their better design for putting light where it is supposed to go and not just splatter it everywhere will be the thing that affects light pollution the most. Most power people are very concious of trying to make things work as efficiently as possible. I do not know if anyone in the power industry would be opposed to making those kinds of improvement. In fact, that would be a popular thing to do. The issue is the expense of doing such a thing needing to be absorbed over time.

When actions can be planned and built into the various business plans over many years, just about anything can be handled. It is the sudden things that cause problems. The trick is to get the right people to believe something is truly necessary, is the right thing to do, and creating a realistic alternative to what is being done right now. The problem with many alternatives being proposed is that the down side of them has not been addressed, which leaves the ideas being dreams at this point and not something that is really viable.

Duana Beckwith

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2018, 02:56:09 PM »
Quote
What I am trying to point out is that the street and security lighting is a very important use of the very minimum amount of power than needs to be produced at night. Rather than being an issue related to making money, it is related more to survival of the system and having power available to carry on our lives in the day time. In order to affect the amount of power that is used for lighting at night, there has to be an alternate load demand for that power. Otherwise, important portions of the power industry will not be listening.

Is this why, when people purchase a streetlight-type security light from the utilities for their private yard (i.e. not as part of the public streetlight system on a utility easement) - utilities often don't include an on-off-switch (at least none accessible to the property owner)?

Michael Shen

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2018, 10:47:22 PM »
Quote
I believe the replacement of lighting in terms of whole systems will take such a long time that it will not have a great effect.
I don't think so! My city (Cambridge, MA) replaced almost all its streetlights with LEDs in a few months, and adjoining Boston is well along and should complete well within a year. My guess is that within two years of the first installations, well over half the streetlights in Massachusetts will have been replaced with LEDs.<p class="citation">QuoteThe general decrease in power consumption from LED lights will most likely match the increase in the number of lights installed.[/quote]That's a grim thought! But there's no evidence that it's true. Municipalities are changing precisely to reduce their electricity costs, and they're not about to install additional lights, because that costs a ton. Replacing a luminaire on an existing post is fast and easy; putting in a new post is a very big job.

Tyler Cox

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 02:20:59 AM »
Quote
Quote

What I am trying to point out is that the street and security lighting is a very important use of the very minimum amount of power than needs to be produced at night. Rather than being an issue related to making money, it is related more to survival of the system and having power available to carry on our lives in the day time. In order to affect the amount of power that is used for lighting at night, there has to be an alternate load demand for that power. Otherwise, important portions of the power industry will not be listening.

Is this why, when people purchase a streetlight-type security light from the utilities for their private yard (i.e. not as part of the public streetlight system on a utility easement) - utilities often don't include an on-off-switch (at least none accessible to the property owner)?
Yes, you are paying for the power for all night long security lighting, so they do not think about a switch. Generally, you are paying a flat fee for a particular wattage of security light. I would bet a vanilla cookie that someone could have a switch if they requested it at the time they ordered the security light.

For ones mounted on a house with power coming from the normal house power, a switch would be put in by the contractor hired by the home owner to install it.

vistadussi

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2018, 04:53:03 AM »
Quote
Quote

Quote
I believe the replacement of lighting in terms of whole systems will take such a long time that it will not have a great effect.

I don't think so! My city (Cambridge, MA) replaced almost all its streetlights with LEDs in a few months, and adjoining Boston is well along and should complete well within a year. My guess is that within two years of the first installations, well over half the streetlights in Massachusetts will have been replaced with LEDs.<p class="citation">Quote
The general decrease in power consumption from LED lights will most likely match the increase in the number of lights installed.

That's a grim thought! But there's no evidence that it's true. Municipalities are changing precisely to reduce their electricity costs, and they're not about to install additional lights, because that costs a ton. Replacing a luminaire on an existing post is fast and easy; putting in a new post is a very big job.
I think it will depend on where in the country you are located, how good the deal is for lighting power, and whether or not the whole fixture has to be changed out.

There are a few small communities in the western part of the country where the street lighting is free in exchange for a utility franchise. This would normally happen when there is competition with a rural electric cooperative. Those kinds of deals may be going away these days, but it used to be fairly common in small towns.

Ghassan Pham

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2018, 05:31:17 AM »
As far as just changing out bulbs goes:

If they can just change out a bulb, that is a good thing that should happen, especially if the price of the power is fairly high. I am a bit disappointed, however, due to the fact that the bulbs in older fixtures that are not dark sky friendly can get an extended life.

If the load factor in the Boston area is such that there is plenty of night time load, then the utility should not have a big problem. Thinking about this after my last post, that may be the case in more highly populated areas where the cities pretty much run around the clock. In my area, a sudden change out of all the street lights over the whole area would cause a problem, at least during certain times of the year.

This will be an interesting thing to watch from a distance, but my company's folks need to be watching and thinking about this situation. A sudden, let us say over a year, significant drop in minimum load could be a real problem. I am going to put a bug into some peoples ears so that they do think about it if they have not already.

paurustmorba

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Re: A couple street lights out in my neighborhood
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2018, 05:37:32 PM »
Pricing based on time of day is the only way power companies have of encouraging customers to shift power usage to nighttime.

Gale