Non functioning street lights on major roads



10 DECEMBER 2007


Question: Councillor M. Baker:

"To ask the Manager what measures are in place to check for non-functioning streetlights on major roads given the high number of streetlights that are not operational?"


There are approximately 22,000 lights of which 66% are maintained by ESB Contracts and the remainder by a private contractor. ESB Contracts maintain the over-head network in the older built up areas and in the former Dún Laoghaire Borough environs. The private contractor maintains the underground system in the more recently constructed estates in the Rathdown area.

ESB Contracts carry out night patrols to detect faults on a 3 week rota in winter and a 5 week rota in summer. The private contractor carries out fortnightly patrols. In addition faults are notified to the contractors when complaints are received from the public, councillors etc. There is a dedicated phone line for reporting public lighting faults. (Tel. 2054809)

For a simple one lamp outage due to a spent lamp the contract conditions specify the following response times:

Network Type


Spent Lamp

Sequential lamp (multiple) outage/cable fault


E.S.B.C. Private

Within 1 month Within 2 weeks

10 days 28 days

In the main, the order of outage of 22000 lights is low and varies between 50% in summer to 2% in winter. This level is considered very good to good; o% is impractical and economically prohibitive.

In the hierarchy and priority of response, single outages on major roads are secondary to large-scale outages and to outages in housing area. The Council strives to minimise its list of long term single outages. Simple matters are resolved reasonably quickly. Complex matters: – cable faults, civil works, deterioration of pole conditions, vandal resultant damage, trees, vehicular restricted access – gives rise to lengthy repair periods.

An accurate list of pole/house numbers and street name is most beneficial in expediting speedy repair and faster turnaround.

The underground system is the more difficult and complex to maintain due to damaged cable fault location, detection and repair; civil excavation works, trenching and ducting etc. Generally cable fault damage is caused by excavations by statutory bodies, Developers, Council's Departments and others or through vandalism. The consequential discontinuation of supply gives rises to large scale outages. A fault detection contractor is required to precisely determine the location of the damaged cable. The damage may have occurred due to a simple cable nick which leads to cable breakdown over time due to water-electrical action. Contractors are invited to advise the Public Lighting Section on cable damage, to leave the cable exposed and uncovered by soil, under such conditions, a repair is made within 2 days maximum. Rock Road, Blackrock had 4 such faults over a 6 week period due to excavations by a Telecom Eireann civil contractor.

Subject to the elements the overhead network, due to visibility and aspect of domestic supply, rarely, is left un-repaired by the E.S.B.N. for greater than 48 hours.

Public Lighting has to contend with dynamic external factors such as vandalism, fire damage on Halloween, vehicular impact, construction and excavations by all and sundry, seasonally inclement weather and foisted dysfunctional ‘new' lighting from road schemes and estates installed by others which required extensive remedial work, inter alia. Taken in charge of new and old roads/estates utilises substantial in-house manpower and inherent difficulties require resolution through extra field work.

Current Large Scale Outages:

1. N11 Bray Road, out of town in the environs of Westminister Road:

Lights reactivated and functional

2. N11 – out of town, from north of Booterstown Ave, past Mount Merrion Road to entrance Stillorgan Park Hotel:

Detection of cable damage ongoing; Extensive civil works anticipated to replace multi distant cable penetration and damage


Operation Freeflow prevails and may impede or dictate abandonment of work until the New Year.

Rain soaked windy weather curtails electrical detection work on Health & Safety ground and level of fault location accuracy by the physical limitations of sensitive electronic fault finding equipment.

Avoidance of the imposed cavalier cable damage is achieved by the availability and usage of cable avoidance equipment by Contractors, Developers, Utilities and others that interfere with the Road surface and layers underneath.

Long term or small scale outages

Such cause the most frustration particularly single lanterns that out of service for many months. The Contractors advise that access difficulties generate poor service delivery eg. Car parking prohibits the service vehicle and hoist from access e.g. Mount Merrion Ave., Blackrock end.

In many estates one-man service crew curtail their work from 10 am – 3 pm during the school year and none thereafter-interference by children to truck controls with the service electrician in the hoist bucket at elevated level has occurred.

Dangerous corners or locations present their factors of service restrictions coupled with heavily trafficked routes or speed prone zones.

Such could be ameliorated through road closures, Garda support, traffic control, night work, Sunday morning work and weekend. The present contract does not provide for night and weekend service due to expensive cost charges.

Tree pruning is a matter for Parks Department and the householder where private land is a consideration.

To counter high lamp failure rates, short lamp life, 20% outage levels, poor lighting levels inter alia, the Council embarked on a substantial innovative programme of aged lantern, column and cable replacement coupled with improved bracket design compatible to installation on ESB Network poles, energy efficient lanterns, anti-vandal columns in tandem with pole numbering, painting and data compilation and logging. This multi-million programme is in conjunction with ESB Contracts. Phase 1 to 5 A, B has been completed; Phase 5C has commenced.

The Council has upgraded lighting in the majority of residential areas and on major national primary, secondary, M50, M11 and on county roads.

Surveys indicate that the public perception is that public lighting has improved substantially and the upgrading lantern programme of newer lights gives a more fuller ambience than the monochromatic pure yellow lights prevalent in sister Authorities. Outages seem less and lamps are functioning longer.


Recent Upgrading and Improvements have been carried out at:

Roads: Glasson Court, Dundrum Road, St. Columbanus Estate, laneway Coolkill, Mountainview, (Carrickmount) (Meadow Park environs) Rathsallagh environs (on going) Blackthorn Ave/Drive, Sandyford Industrial Estate et al

Pathways: Finsbury Park, Churchtown, Pearse Park, Sallynoggin, Longford Terrace to Salthill & Monkstown DART Station, Corbawn Lane to Shankill DART, Balally / Wedgewood, Mount Albany et al

Presently (restricted due to Operation Freeflow); Orwell Road – Churchtown end; The Metals (Moran Park to Park Road); Marine Parade / Otranto Place, Sandycove, Castlebrook Pathway, Hillview pathway to Dundrum Family Recreational Centre; Sandyford Industrial Estate, Rathmichael Road

Major Projects with Consequences reference weekly ‘in-house' "Traffic News", LUAS, M50/Carrickmines; Ballyogan Road; Sandyford Road, Wyckham By Pass

Roads Developments; Nutgrove Ave, Laurel Ave., Ballybrack, Wyckham By Pass environs, Pearse Road, Sallynoggin, Sandyford Industrial Estate

Computerisation of inventory, its maintenance and purchase of a software programme was initiated in the current year. Staff shortages are ongoing and historical as are budget limitations and constraints.

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