If you’ve ever wondered why the streetlights are on during the day, we’re here to tell you that you’re not alone. This is a common question that many Cape Town residents find themselves asking. Now you can finally put those thoughts to bed because the City of Cape Town has the answers we’ve all been waiting for.
The City is regarded as a “leader in energy efficiency efforts” and has award-winning energy efficiency programs in place. For instance, LED lighting is installed in all traffic lights and more than 20% of streetlights, while over 900 advanced metering infrastructure electricity meters have been installed.
With this being said, under normal circumstances, there wouldn’t be justification for wasting electricity unnecessarily. However, the decision is made to keep some of the lights burning in order to deter the theft and vandalism of streetlight and electricity infrastructure in hotspot areas.
Other examples include streetlights which can be switched on manually for maintenance purposes and to protect streetlight cables against physical damage by civil contractors. The control mechanism that automatically switches the lights on and off can also become faulty, the City adds.
The City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti said: “It’s understandable that our residents are concerned about instances of streetlights which are burning during the day.
“This can seem like a massive waste of electricity to residents, but the City does have good reasons for doing so, and the benefits of keeping them on far outweigh the benefits of switching them off.
“It is also important for residents to remember that streetlights are very efficient and of low energy consumption. The impact of the lights burning is not as big as it might seem.”
Councillor Maxiti goes on to say that “When it comes to theft and vandalism, in particular, residents should keep in mind that the cost of keeping relatively small stretches of lights burning pales in comparison to the astronomical amounts associated with the replacement of the same length of stolen cable and vandalized equipment.”
He further explains that the City spends millions of rands each year in order to repair and replace vital electricity infrastructure as a result of theft and vandalism. “Keeping streetlights on has repeatedly proved to be an effective deterrent as thieves rarely risk their lives by hacking into live wires,” Councillor Maxiti maintains.
Between July 2020 and March 2021, the City spent more than R15,5 million on repairing and replacing City electricity infrastructure damaged by vandalism, theft, and illegal connections across the metro. This has become worse since the national Covid-19 lockdown started, and Area South in the metro is the most affected, the City explains.
These illegal actions impact service delivery to residents, communities, and road users, and help is needed from residents across Cape Town to stop the scourge. Keeping streetlights on during the day is one of the tools in the City’s arsenal.
Streetlights may also be on during the day due to a faulty control circuit. Therefore, as customer complaints form an important part of effective streetlight maintenance, it is requested that customers report streetlights that are on during daytime or faulty streetlights to the City’s Fault Reporting Centre. Customers will receive a notification number that may be used for follow-up purposes. Always ask for a reference number and keep it at hand.
Make sure to call 0860 103 089 for service requests or SMS 31220 (free SMSes do not apply). Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or log your request by visiting this website. The City asks that you only log complaints on one channel while bearing in mind that during inclement weather, service requests increase and this can impact the time required to fix an outage.