Street lighting faults are, erm, lighting up Edinburgh

Image result for edinburgh at night

Since the weekend the clocks changed there have been reported problems with streetlights across the Ward. Council Officers report that there is a “huge backlog” – average turnaround time for a repair is 20 working days. 

In 2018/19, 3,523 lights in Colinton/Fairmilehead will be replaced with “Energy Efficient Luminaire”. These should be more reliable and be cheaper to run – Win-Win!

Below is a briefing I received from Council Officers on the current problem: 


Note – Edinburgh has over 64,000 street lights.

Street Lighting Faults

Street lighting faults are currently prioritised into four categories:

  • Emergency Repairs made safe within 4 hours (i.e. life and limb situations)
  • Priority Repairs completed within 24 hours (6 or more consecutive dark lights)
  • Five-day Repairs (5 or less consecutive dark lights)
  • 28-day Repairs


All street lighting fault repairs are undertaken by Edinburgh Road Services (ERS), who deploy seven Approved Electricians and five Public Lighting Operatives across the city.  ERS are currently carrying five vacancies for Approved Electricians and are experiencing difficulties in recruiting suitable staff.


Most recent Figures (for September ’17) highlight the following performance:

Performance Indicator Target Performance
% of Street Lighting Emergency Repairs made safe within 4 hours 95% 96.1%
% of Street Lighting Priority Repairs completed within 24 hours 75% 74.1%
% of Street Lighting 5-day Repairs completed in time 70% 55.9%
% of Street Lighting 28-day Repairs completed in time 95% 97.8%

Owing to the low level of performance (especially in response to Street Lighting 5-day Repairs), the Edinburgh Road Services Manager has issued the following statement:

Due to the volume of Street Lighting repairs, it is currently taking an average of 20 working days to attend Street Lighting reports.

We are improving this, but in the meantime apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.



External recruitment is being repeated, Employment Agencies have been engaged to source suitable staff, an existing Professional Services Framework is being used to source labour and the temporary contracting of a street lighting repair service is being explored.

Scottish Power Faults

With around 40% of the Council’s street lighting assets connected directly to a Scottish Power supply, power supply problems are outside the control of the Council.

As such, Scottish Power Networks’ target response times are:

Service Performance Level
Emergency Fault Repair Response Attend site within 2 hours
High Priority Fault Repair – Traffic Light Controlled Within 2 calendar days
High Priority Fault Repair – non-Traffic Light Controlled Within 10 working days
Multiple Unit Fault Repair Within 20 working days
Single Unit Fault Repairs Within 25 working days


Energy Efficient Street Lighting Programme

The Council is currently procuring a Contract for the conversion of its existing street lights to energy efficient lanterns.  It is anticipated that the 35-month Contract will be awarded in January 2018, with the Contract being completed by 31 December 2020.

The Contract includes the introduction of a Central Management System, which will allow the street lights to be remotely monitored and improve responsiveness to lantern failures.


One thought on “Street lighting faults are, erm, lighting up Edinburgh

  1. There is a very simple way to avoid problems with timers for streetlights when we switch from BST to GMT. Set the timers up on GMT all year round. They will not need major adjustments in March, October, and only need to respond to changes in day length, as per their light sensors. I keep my heating system on GMT – works fine.


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