Improving how we work with streetlight customers

Streetlights at night

 

We’re improving the way we work with our streetlight partners.

 

Until now, getting up-to-date streetlight fault information has been an on-going bugbear for our local councils.

While local authorities own and maintain streetlights in their areas (apart from State Highways, which is Waka Kotahi), we get called if a fault is suspected to be with our cables or lines powering the streetlight.

For years, our regional account managers – our representatives for council customers – have regularly fielded calls and emails from councils requesting updates about streetlight issues in their areas. This is largely because councils are being approached by the media and residents asking for updates.

Recognising the need for real-time streetlight fault information, we’re working to give our council partners greater visibility of open and completed streetlight fault jobs by creating an online streetlight issues dashboard. It’s intended that our council partners will have access to the dashboard to provide insight into logged and completed streetlight jobs. 

How it will work

The dashboard will pull streetlight fault information, such as jobs being investigated and jobs completed in each council area, directly from our Outage Management System (OMS). 

As well as job status, the dashboard will pull through detailed information about each logged streetlight fault, including:

  • The date the job was created
  • The locationof the streetlight issue
  • The notes from the council’s electricity retailer when they logged the job
  • The total number of crews assigned to investigate the fault, whether the first crew was able to fix it or whether more work was needed to identify the fault, such as underground work.

There’s also a dashboard for residual faults where councils can find most ongoing streetlight work.

Commercial and Retailer Manager Kathy Thomas says the solution goes beyond providing a feedback loop to our council partners.

“It will provide subsequent and ongoing benefits for councils and Powerco teams by shifting resource efforts to proactive management and insights, rather than reactive performance management of issues with streetlight circuits.

“And, ultimately, it will benefit our customers, who rely on streetlights for safety.” 

 

Streetlight faults – who does what?

 

Other than on state highways, local councils own local streetlights and manage their maintenance. Our electricity network provides the power supply and control systems for most streetlights.

 

Residents report all streetlight faults to their local council, who then engages their streetlight contractor to investigate the fault. If the fault is found to be with the power supply or control systems, we will be called to repair the issue.

 

Installing and removing streetlights

 

Land developers, local councils and energy retailers now have a transparent process around installing and decommissioning streetlights.

 

“Through previous audits, we saw there was a risk for Powerco around streetlights,” Billing and Reconciliation Manager Michael Warren says.

 

“Until now, there wasn’t clear obligations and procedures communicated to the various external stakeholders to ensure everyone knew what processes they should follow around constructing and connecting streetlights. That means we didn’t necessarily know exactly which streetlights were connected to our network and who had responsibility for them.

 

“This can lead to non-compliance, as electrical connections are being made without proper authorisation which, in turn, leads to adverse audit outcomes.

 

“There have been instances, particularly in the Bay of Plenty, where streetlights have been added to the network by developers' contractors and we haven’t been notified.

 

“We’ve also had instances of councils deciding to no longer take responsibility for ‘private’ streetlights, such as those down small side streets or right of ways, and Powerco is not notified. This causes problems with retailers who then don’t know who to bill the electricity to and subsequently under submit to the electricity market.”

 

To improve compliance, efficiency, and consistency around streetlight connections, we’ve developed a new, two-step process. This new process is based on feedback from developers, councils, electricity retailers, and other distribution companies and ensures we meet the needs of all parties without requiring new forms or further paperwork.

We’ll also be speaking to our streetlight partners to make sure they’re aware of their obligations when transferring the ownership of existing streetlights.

 

 

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