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Calgary making progress on six-week lag for streetlight repairs

Contractor switch earlier this year increased the current average wait for streetlight repairs to 47 days.

Calgary streetlight fixes are taking nearly six weeks to get to, but the City said it’s working its way through the backlog.

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said with the days getting shorter, Calgarians are increasingly concerned about prompt repairs for street lighting. She asked about it during Question Period at Tuesday’s strategic meeting of council.

“That’s one of the reasons I asked a question a question period today is we have a couple sites that are in need of having those streetlights repaired and people just wondering what the timelines are,” Penner said.

Doug Morgan, General Manager for Operational Services with the City of Calgary, said they experienced a significant backlog when the switched to a different contractor than Enmax.

“We brought on a new contractor. During that transition, we found we fell behind in that response to Calgarians for streetlight outages and we've been working back to close that gap,” Morgan said.

The City’s target time for streetlight service is 30 days. GM Morgan said they’re currently hitting 47 days for service.

“Our mobility group has brought on two additional crews with the contractor, plus developed a separate contract for additional resources that come through and help citizens with that response,” he said.

The City’s website with information on reporting streetlight issues said streetlight repairs would typically be done within 30 days, weather permitting.

“More complex issues, including short circuits or underground wire faults, may take longer to repair,” the website reads.

The City has a streetlight outage reporting system online. You must sign in with a myID account with the City of Calgary.

Hiring, getting contractors up to speed

While there’s been a 14 per cent reduction in the cost to repair streetlights, the City’s been trying to catch up on the backlog since the switch.

Coun. Penner said that it’s expected given a lag in hiring and switching over to a different contractor.

In the meantime, Penner suggested contacting your Ward office to inquire about streetlights that have taken an unnecessarily long time to repair.

“I always remind people if you're moving through a dark area, go slow - both cars and pedestrians and make sure you know that you can be seen,” she said.  

“But we're working on it and we will get that cleared up and continue to progress towards better times.”

Morgan said they hoped to be caught up to the 30-day streetlight repair timeline by early 2024.