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Lighting cost riles Perth councils

BREAKDOWNS, 1950s technology and poor street light servicing by Western Power are leaving many residential streets in a dangerous state, says Vincent Mayor John Hyde.

“Light failures in Perth’s streets are now in plague proportions,” Mr Hyde said.

Mr Hyde said a WA Municipal Association survey of WA councils found most wanted to renegotiate their agreements with Western Power.

The report says most metropolitan street lights are equipped with mercury vapour lights which are considered to be the least efficient lights available.

“It’s estimated local councils Australia-wide are being ripped off by as much as 25 per cent on the costs they pay for street lighting,” Mr Hyde said.

“Prior to corporatisation Western Power regularly checked and replaced blown lights in local streets.

“This isn’t happening as efficiently now and local councils are wasting money doing Western Power’s job by having to check and report faulty lights.

“National research shows councils are paying an estimated 25 per cent premium on electricity costs to Western Power to keep streetlights lit and they’re supposed to ensure the equipment is in working condition.

“Vincent had to divert a full-time staff member to do a safety audit of all streetlights.”

A Western Power spokesman said it had replaced all 2,700 streetlights in the Town of Vincent in the past four years, as per its recently re-signed agreement with the council.

He said mercury vapour and high pressure sodium lights were the most efficient and economic streetlights available to local authorities. Other kinds of street lights were available but needed to be replaced every two years, rather than four years.

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