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.”

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