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Street Light Tips

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Please use this helpful information when you report problems with street lights to 311.

Pole/Light numbers

KCMO-maintained streetlights have ID numbers consisting of three letters and four numerals arranged vertically. For example "SAH 1621." The ID decal is black on white and found on the side of the pole, facing the street, about 8 feet above the ground.

TIP: Including this ID number positively locates the pole and provides valuable information to the person making the repairs.

Cycling Lamp

High-pressure sodium bulbs have an expected life of 4-5 years but must warm up for few minutes to produce light. Old or failing bulbs draw excessive electric current when starting, causing other components to overheat until fail-safe devices cut off the power. After the units cool, the bulb attempts to restart. As the lamp ages and deteriorates, the “on” time gets progressively shorter.

TIP: Report a light that goes on and off unexpectedly as "cycling. "

Day-Burning Light

A light-sensing switch or photocell on top of the luminaire turns it on at dusk and off at dawn. A luminaire remains “on” when the photocell fails or is damaged. The energy charge for streetlights is calculated based on the annual hours of darkness. Even though the cost of the power doesn’t change, operation of the light during the day diminishes the life of the bulb and other components and wastes electrical energy.


TIP: Report lights operating in full daylight as "day burners."

Multiple Outages

Typically several adjacent street lights, up to 6 or 8, are linked together on a common circuit. If the wire in that circuit, either above or underground is cut or broken for whatever reason, several lights may not operate leaving large areas in the dark.


TIP: When you notice a light is not working, check other closely adjacent lights and if appropriate, mention the fact that multiple lights are out. This information, along with pole ID or addresses, helps the service person locate the problem source more quickly.

Knocked down, loose or missing components

There is a surprising amount of vibration and pressure on streetlight poles, mast arms, fixtures and wires caused by passing traffic, wind and nearby trees. Poles that have been hit or are leaning as a result of traffic accidents can be dangerous. Such forces can cause these sturdily built items to loosen and fall open. The presence of electrical energy makes loose components more dangerous.

TIP: Stay clear of a pole that has been hit and promptly report any lighting component that appears to be moving excessively.