This week, a coalition of 16 Victorian local governments will start a major street lighting upgrade project that is expected to result in major energy savings and cost reductions through swapping old mercury vapour street lights for energy-efficient LEDs.

The Lighting the Regions project is flagged to shave 77 per cent of energy, with savings of more than $57 million over 20 years, in addition to substantial substantial savings in operations and maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emissions reductions of about 180,000 tonnes.

It is believed to be one of the largest street lighting partnership projects undertaken in Australia, and involves City of Greater Bendigo, who are taking the role of lead council, Central Goldfields, Hepburn, Pyrenees, Loddon, Swan Hill, Gannawarra, Mount Alexander, Buloke, Ararat, Northern Grampians, Hindmarsh, Horsham, Yarriambiack, West Wimmera and Mildura. Together these LGAs comprise nearly half the entire area of regional Victoria.

Funding for the $11.6 m project includes $5 m from the federal government’s Community Energy Efficiency Program.

In addition to the local government partners, the project, which will run until June 2016, has support from the Wimmera Mallee Sustainability Alliance and the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance.

The Distribution Network Service Provider for the Lighting the Regions project is Powercor, which maintains and operates street lighting infrastructure on behalf of the local government partners.

Project chairperson Ray Kingston said that it represents a “once in a generation opportunity to engage regional communities and individuals to make positive energy efficiency changes in the home and the workplace”.

“This collaborative partnership will yield significant economic and environmental project benefits for the 16 local government Councils involved in the project and will pull together the expertise, resourcing and financial resources required to take energy efficiency action together with their communities,” Mr Kingston said.

The project is being launched by Hepburn Springs mayor Cr Don Henderson, Mal Thorp the acting general manager Energy Programs Branch Department of Industry, Mr Kingston and sustainability advocate and strategist Rob Gell at an event in Hepburn Springs on Thursday [October 16].

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  1. You’ve certainly done your homework Robin! Note that the lights in the Lighting the Regions – and your community – are definitely the 18W StreetLED. When you include the control gear (ballast) etc, the total wattage is 21.9W. This has been independently tested as per the AEMO load table – see

    If you need more information or clarification you should find the councils very responsive. Otherwise you’re always welcome to buz our office on 1300 288 262. We’re involved in a project oversight role, helping all 16 councils and were involved from day 1 developing their business cases, funding applications, lighting designs etc.

  2. Here is the result of trying to get technical information on the luminaires which are being installed, just for curiosity. This pages states that they are “made by Gerard Professional Solutions, and is assembled in Australia.”

    This company covers quite a few other companies, including Sylvania. Alexi Lynch (below) stated that the lights used for “Lighting the Regions” are 18 watt StreetLEDs. Here are some pages for StreetLED: 18 watts 25 watts

    A recent article with photos from here in Hepburn Shire (Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, Central Victoria) shows some pictures of the luminaires themselves:

    The first image is of a light being installed. It looks like a StreetLED. The second shows a similar light and a larger one which is not LED. This appears to be:

    which is 26, 32 or 42 watts with a cold cathode compact fluorescent lamp.

    This document from May:

    states: “Sylvania is currently the only manufacturer of Powercor approved LED street lighting. Recently their Luminaire has been reduced from 22 to 18 Watts further improving the long term savings of replacement.”

    This 2013-10 page:

    “We believe the LED light of interest is the 22W StreetLED, however it could also be the older version which is the 25W StreetLED (this will be superseded as soon as the 22W is listed on the Australian Energy Market Operator or AEMO load table). According to the manufacturer this light can do the same job as an 80W MV.”

    The luminaire opposite our house on the other side of the street was replaced today. Previously it was a mercury vapour lamp. While it lit up the front yard quite well (directly away from the pole) it was a serious blight on our ability to see the night sky. The new one emits much less light in the direction of our house, which is almost level with the streetlight. It is partly cloudy now – otherwise we would be able to see the Large and perhaps Small Magellanic Clouds. I perceive a great improvement in our ability to see the stars, due to there being less light glaring from the streetlight into our eyes and bouncing off the house.

    Looking at now for the first time (at night) it appears to be similar to a StreetLED (based on the images and information linked to above). It has LEDs in rows: 4, 3, 4, 3, 4 – as shown in the datasheet:

    It also has a cylindrical device mounted on the underside, no-doubt the sensor to turn it on at night. I will look at it closer in the day.

    It has a strong output up and down the street – I guess this is the grey curve on page 2 of the datasheet. I guess the end-on light distribution is the smaller black curve. This must be done by careful design of the encapsulation of each LED, since there seems to be no other diffusion arrangement.

    Further searching reveals a test report for the StreetLED Eco with detailed photos of its innards, including the Philips switching power supply and the LED panel itself, with the elliptical LED encapsulation:

    The LED PCB is labelled Samsung LP41-01009C. The test report mentions: “Samsung Street Light LED module PCB label: STOSEW750; 30003LS01; N701; 000689; R3; 5000K – S; driven by Philips Xitanium driver 929000708803 set to 350 mA.”

    At 240 volts, the tests average 21.9 watts with a power factor of 0.9. The streetlight is seriously bright for this small power consumption.

    I have not been able to find any information about the Samsung LED panel or its LEDs.

    I think this is a most welcome development in terms of energy efficiency, and in terms of reducing light spill. Once these are widely adopted, there should be a reduction in skyglow (, which will significantly improve our ability to see and enjoy the night sky.

  3. Hi there – my organisation has been involved in helping councils with this project so I know it very well. The 77% electricity savings are essentially guaranteed… there’s no lilly-gilding here.

    Let me explain:

    The current old lights are 80W MVs (there are barely any 50Ws in Victoria). As David says, with control gears included the total wattage is 96W. The new lights are 18W StreetLEDs – the total wattage 22 watts when the control gear is included. From 96W to 22W is a 77% saving. It seems massive because it is: The current/old lights are energy-guzzling and inefficient. The new ones are incredibly efficient.

    The cost reason the electricity savings are “guaranteed” is because the lights for this bulk change are all the same, and all un-metered. This means that the electricity use of the old and new technology – and the energy savings – are known in advance and guaranteed.

    Street lighting is an “unmetered load” and energy usage is managed by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO). The methodology for the calculation of energy volumes for such unmetered supplies is set out in the National Energy Market (NEM) Metrology Procedures, which are managed by the Australian Energy Market Operator AEMO. The methodology relies upon knowledge of the energy consumption of each type of approved load at an unmetered connection point. The values for assumed energy consumption are obtained from power consumption tests agreed upon by AEMO and other stakeholders.

    It is from these “load tables” that retailers and network service providers are able to calculate energy use from unmetered supplies. These loads are then used by the electricity distribution business to calculate energy usage for each load type. They will multiply the load by the sunset to sunrise hours in that region over the relevant time in order to calculate total kWh. For example, in the “Lighting the Regions” project the calculation to determine energy use is:

    Number of Lights x Wattage (96 before and 22 after) x 365 (days/year) x 11.94 (hours operational per day based on the regulations cited above) / 1000 (to get to kWh).


    Note also the “fixed costs” are known as maintenance costs regulated by the Australian Energy Regulator. The current cost (to councils – from Powercor) for the 80W MV is around the $53 pa mark. The cost of the 18W LED is around the $20 because it requires much less maintenance.

    While I’ve never worked at any of the councils involved I’ve worked with them through various roles over the last decade. Councils can cop a lot of flack but give credit where credit is due – this is an amazing project and will represent the single largest energy reduction projects that each of these 16 councils have ever completed. Councils and ratepayers will be saving big time.

  4. Craig, if it is anything like NSW, they are probably replacing 50W and 80W mercury vapour lamps (which actually draw more like 65W and 96W respectively)with LEDs which (depending on the brand they choose) are in the vicinity of 22-29W (and actually draw 22-29W).

  5. 77% seems at the extreme end of the possible savings and on first blush it appears to be gilding the lilly. That would require re-spacing of poles, central management system and part night dimming. All very adventerous. However, the fixed cost of providing the electricty will not change (ROI of the lighting, poles, wires etc) only a proportion of the variable cost (energy) I expect to see a reconfiguration of the pricing regime towards more % fixed cost thereby reducing the claimed potential of 77% savings.

  6. 77% savings is fantastic. It would be interesting to know what the current power consumption per light fitting generally is with these councils fixtures ie lamp Wagttage (and losses at the lamp) and what the new lamps will draw. Thanks