The company, which runs South Australia’s electricity infrastructure, is offering new tariff options to councils to fund the expensive change-over to LEDs, which can reduce energy use by 50-70 per cent in residential areas.
The options include SA Power Networks funding the entire up-front cost and then recovering the costs over the ensuing years.
SA Power Networks has published the new tariffs on its website in response to what it describes as a maturing of LED street lighting technology.
In the past, LED products weren’t compatible with the streetlight firings in South Australia, but that barrier has now been overcome.
“The biggest barrier to a changeover now is how to fund the heavy upfront cost of upgrading to new, more energy-efficient lighting,” said Paul Roberts, the manager of stakeholder relations for SA Power Networks.
“We’ve released new, tailored tariff options that give councils choice about how the upgrade is funded, and certainty about service levels.
“There are two key funding options – one in which SA Power Networks will fund the upfront capital cost in full and recover the funds from participating councils over time, or an option where councils pay for the initial capital cost of their lights.”
The move by SA Power Networks comes in the wake of a push by eastern suburbs councils to join together to tender out an LED replacement program worth an estimated $50 million.
As reported by InDaily, the push has fallen into controversy due to concerns about the probity of the tender process.
The group of councils have called in an independent consultant to review the tender.
SA Power Networks, which says the timing of the release of the new tariffs has nothing to do with the controversy, is emphasising the low carbon footprint of LEDs and the lower ongoing maintenance costs.
Only a small number of South Australia’s 220,000 streetlights are LEDs, including in a smattering of metropolitan and regional council areas. They are approved for a large number of new housing developments in places such as Mt Barker and Playford, with the market taking off this year.
So far in 2016, SA Power Networks says it has implemented a policy to replace failed streetlights with LEDs. So far this year, it has installed more than 2000 LEDs.
In 2014, a trial in Keswick looked at a range of smart lighting systems – which is one of the possibilities with LED systems.
Roberts says SA Power Networks is developing offering for monitoring and control systems that will allow “sophisticated management of street lights to ensure optimum performance and maximum energy efficiency”.
“These will be able to be integrated with ‘smart cit’ innovations that are attracting council interest,” he said.
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