When it comes to street lights, you may not give them much thought. At AEP Ohio we know a lot about street lights but we want to know even more. A new “smart” street light program will help us do just that.

AEP Ohio owns roughly 100,000 street lights that are leased to cities, villages and townships across our service territory. This partnership has worked well for decades; however, the technology behind it hasn’t changed much. The lights don’t provide real-time information, making it challenging to know how well they’re working –– or if they’re working at all. 

As part of a pilot program, we’re testing close to 200 energy efficient smart street lights in Canton, Lima and New Albany. These lights were installed during fall 2019 in a mix of rural and urban locations. These lights can provide us real-time status updates and have more energy efficient benefits, including:

    • Quicker response to non functioning lights (including during power outages)
    • Maintenance information indicating when a light might soon fail
    • Better and more accurate performance tracking
    • Reduced energy costs
    • Improved nighttime visibility and quality of lighting services

“We’re already getting a clearer view of the performance of the street lights and, if our projections prove correct, customers could use up to 50 to 60 percent less energy,” said Al Kohler, an energy efficiency program coordinator for AEP Ohio.

From this test run, we’re learning important information about our infrastructure and how to better serve our customers. Is it possible to have bus stops lit up by occupancy sensors, empty roads illuminated when an oncoming car approaches, and variable brightness settings based on weather and traffic conditions? 

“We’re a long way away from that kind of application,” said Kohler. “But, it’s absolutely possible. There’s an incredible opportunity with this technology and we’re just scratching the surface.”

40 responses to “Pilot Program Makes Street Lights ‘Smart’

    1. Jackson Township Stark County Ohio. We have many street lights from the 80’s And 90’s that are not very energy efficient at all. We need to upgrade them to LED in fact the poles are not even in good shape. I have asked for options and been told we have none. Please help!

  1. A lot of the newer LED street lights I’ve seen are overly bright, even to where I’ve had to squint when driving past one. I actually prefer the older lights and a few other people I’ve talked to about it agree. If the LED’s could not be so obnoxiously bright, and possibly be made in an orange-ish color to mimick the more relaxed night-time lights we’re all used to, then I’d like them a lot better.

  2. Are there any plans to develop traditional looking styles suitable for a residential
    neighborhood. Our area seems to be, for the first time in decades, have some
    minor crimes. So street lights would help plus providing lights for the many
    people walking dogs in the early AM and after sunset.

    1. Hi William. We really appreciate your feedback and I have sent it on to the energy efficiency folks who are working on this project. Thanks for writing!

    1. Hi Steve. Please call us at (800) 672-2231 and we can look into bringing street lights to Strawberry Farms.

  3. Need better lighting on my street. The pole across from my house is leaning and gose out when pushed on plus not very bright can you take a look at it. It’s old and leaning bad thanks scott

  4. very smart ideas to safe energy and safety in our neigherhoods. My dad always said where there is a light ths bad guys stay away!!!!

  5. Why do AEP want every household to have LED bulds which I do use, but the street lights are not. My understanding that this service is calulated in our monthly bill. Shouldn’t this be a requirement a saving to customers and better lighting.

    1. Hi Van. I passed along your contact information to the project team. If you want an immediate response, you might want to call us at (800) 672-2231. Thanks for writing!

  6. There needs to be a more efficient way to know when street lights go out so they can be replaced quickly. The street light at the corner of Rt 161 and Maplebrook Lane (NW Columbus Brookside Woods) was out for over a year until I was able to get the pole number and call AEP. The pole light is repaired by Columbus but owned by AEP. Once I got to the right department – and it took many calls- it was repaired within a week. I have the information to our neighborhood web site anyone can call Columbus and report an outage.

    1. Hi Beverly. Thanks for your note. A member of the project team said he would email you the locations right away.

  7. It isn’t clear from the article if these are new installations or replacing old lights (the focus should be on decreasing light pollution and energy consumption, not increasing it by installing more lights). It’s also important to ensure minimizing blue light emissions that are typical of LED lights as it can create more skyglow and has been implicated in increasing glare and adversely affecting wildlife reproduction.

    Importantly, there is no clear scientific evidence that increasing outdoor lighting decreases accidents or crime. Data from the United Kingdom and the United States shows that lighting amount/timing had no effect on either of these (the International Dark Sky Association has listed some of these scientific studies on their website).

    Minimizing lighting to have only those lights that are absolutely necessary on at night and dimming or turning off unnecessary ones will save all of us money, decrease unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions, and perhaps let us regain some of our fantastic natural astronomical beauty that gets washed out by all the lights in the name of perceived safety.

    1. Thanks for your message. Please call us at (800) 672-2231 and we can look into upgrading the street lights in your village.

  8. I have been suggesting this for at least two years or so, in
    order to get mine updated. My township had these installed on the Taylor Road SW. Improvement.

  9. The street lights in Gambier Ohio need to be updated. This is a safety issue for the college kids walking back and forth across the campus. The lights on the middle path have been updated to LEDS. so I feel that the other side streets need to be updated with the LEDS as well, so you can see the students at night!

  10. Hi who should I contact to see if we can get some street lights? We live in Blendon township on Chester rd . My kids school bus arrives at 6:30 am and its still dark i live right in the corner and always have to put a extension light to give them some light . Let me know if you can help me thank you.!!

  11. I am the mayor of the Village of Mineral City Ohio, just south of Canton Ohio. We would love to find a way to be involved in a program such as this to find a way to make our street lights more efficient and safe.

    Thank you
    Laurie Green

  12. I think this is fantastic considering that most of us have been encouraged to use more energy efficient products for quite a number of years. I do think crime is much higher in areas that are not well lit and statistics have proven that to be true. When and how can we have these lights installed on our streets and/or near our properties?

    1. Hi Brenda. The project is still in its infancy so we aren’t ready to expand outside these communities just yet. We’ll be sure to let people know when we install these lights in other areas.

  13. Can’t wait for AEP Ohio to update the old sodium lights in our Louisville Oh condo complex. Present lighting (outdated) is terrible along with the high electric cost to operate.

  14. I own the home at 4142 Regentview N.E. Canton.Ohio. I’ve been dealing with plain township to try to get a street light put up. Because all the other units are rentals. Getting the six owners to sign has not been successful. It’s a dead end Street and I believe it’s a safety issue. Placement of a light might be a good test unit. Thank you for your consideration.

    1. Hi James. Sorry to hear you’ve been having difficulty. If you give us a call at (800) 672-2231 we can look into the matter and try to figure out what we can be done.

  15. What about the glare from the daylight bright streetlights? Will there be shields on the lights to prevent trespass onto private property and into residential buildings? What color temperature are you testing?

    1. Hi Karen. Thanks for your feedback. We are always trying to improve our products and will pass your comments on to the project team working on the street light pilot.

        1. Hi Joe. AEP Ohio does not make the components, but for this pilot we did install GE LED lighting fixtures and smart controllers that connect within our existing network. Thanks for your question!

  16. Sounds good
    I would like to see streets lights on my road
    Maybe it would stop these young hoodlums for smashing my mail box

  17. Sounds like a great plan to assist drivers, especially bad weather conditions, reduce crime in inner city neighbors/high crime rate areas.

    Would like to see technology provide porch light bulbs or solar bulbs with motion detection.

    Used on stop signs or stop lights to light up streets.

    Used on mailboxes —OR— fire hydrants.

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