• Smart Street Lighting
  • Lighting Controls
  • LED Lighting
  • smart cities

The Utility Case for Smart Street Lighting: Insights from Georgia Power

Eric Woods
Nov 20, 2018

Smart Cities

It is estimated that more than 50% of US street lights are under utility ownership. Utilities are important players in the development of modern, energy-efficient street lighting. Many utilities are now recognizing the benefits of deploying LEDs, and are implementing connected street lighting platforms to improve customer services, meet the energy and emissions goals of municipalities, and improve their own bottom line through reduced maintenance costs. 

However, some utilities have been slow to take a leadership role. They are often concerned about the impact on existing business models, unsure how to balance regulatory and non-regulatory opportunities, and see no urgency to reduce off-peak energy consumption. But inaction is no longer a viable approach. Change-resistant utilities are increasingly being challenged by cities and municipalities that see an opportunity to reduce their energy bills and cut their carbon emissions. 

Utilities that are still uncertain about their street lighting strategy can learn much from those that have led the way. Georgia Power is one of the pioneers in street lighting services in North America, and its lighting team is responsible for the management of around 900,000 lights, regulated and unregulated, across its territory. The utility has been rolling out LED upgrades for several years and it is also responsible for one of the world’s largest deployments of connected lighting controls. Since 2015, Georgia Power has implemented network lighting controls on approaching 300,000 of the 400,000 regulated highway and roadway lights under its management. It also controls around 500,000 non-regulated area lights (such as parks, stadiums, campuses) which it is in the process of upgrading. 

Georgia Power and its customers have already seen significant benefits from the program. The new network is allowing the lighting management team to address long-standing issues around asset management and maintenance scheduling. It is also deploying service innovations such as on-fixture metering and time-of-use tariffs. There is no magic involved—the program has benefited from a combination of strategic vision, detailed implementation planning, and careful execution. It offers important insights for any utility looking to realize the benefits and address the challenges of smart street lighting.

Join Us and Learn More 

In the forthcoming Navigant Research webinar, Smart Street Lighting: The Utility Opportunity, I will discuss Georgia Power’s experience and the lessons it provides for other utilities with Scotty Hutto, manager of the Lighting Services Business Unit at Georgia Power, and his colleague Jessica Tolley, the LED roadway manager. We will be joined by Jack Hanley, the vice president of sales, North America at Telensa.  

We will discuss the technical and commercial challenges facing utilities, how connected lighting can reduce maintenance costs, the potential for new services, and how to work with the local public services commission. Please join us to hear the utility perspective on smart street lighting.

Join us on November 28, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. EST. Click here to register.