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Council moves to a brighter way of lighting Ōamaru

Waitaki App

Staff Reporter

09 July 2024, 11:00 PM

Council moves to a brighter way of lighting ŌamaruElectrician John Clement installs a new smart system lighting control unit in Eden Street. Photo: Arrow Koehler

Ōamaru will soon be lit up for less.


Work has begun to upgrade streetlights in the town and surrounding areas in an aim to save money and expand their uses.



The Waitaki District Council is installing new smart-system control units, which will replace the former photocell receivers and allow the Waitaki District Council to control the lights directly, council roading manager Kushla Tapper says.


The lighting system is expected to be operating by mid-August, and will save money by providing more reliable usage data for billing, reducing total power consumption, and reducing electricity drain at peak times.


The new systems will be able to “precisely measure what’s being used and give council the opportunity to work on saving power and by dimming lights when needed” although actual savings can not be determined until after the first power bill.



The system also has additional functions for the future, including the ability to dim lights during low-use times, turn some lights off completely (such as for dark sky projects or Aurora Australis events) or enable a flashing function during Civil Defence alerts.


The project has been budgeted at around $360,000 with the majority of that money spent on the 1550 control units, which were bought and paid for in 2020-2021.


The full cost will be known once the work is completed, but it is expected to be under budget, Kushla says.


One of the new control units (the blue and white plastic piece), as it will look. Photo: Supplied


While the system is being installed, the lights will also be cleaned and inspected.


The smart-system will cover the town's streets, but not State Highway 1. While the council is usually responsible for this, that is on hold while the New Zealand Transport Authority Waka Kotahi (NZTA) considers a national management plan for state highway streetlighting.


"A result of this may be some flickering in our streetlights when they turn on, due to the lights operating on two different systems," Kushla says.


The council will work with NZTA on a plan to include the highway network should they require it.