PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Phoenix city officials say they are aware that some new LED streetlights are malfunctioning and essentially turning into strobe lights.

The City embarked on a $30 million, two-year project to replace all 100,000 street lights at the end of 2017. The goal was to become more energy efficient and to save money. But problems with the electrical current in some of the City's light poles have caused those lights to malfunction.

"I don’t have a number for you, but I can tell you that out of the entire number of streetlights that we’ve installed, it’s a very tiny number," said Monica Hernandez who works for the City of Phoenix.

Hernandez says they estimate the problem light poles at less than 1 percent of the total number of street lights.

"We are working with the vendor to make sure that each and every light is operating the way it should operate," said Hernandez.

Although the number of malfunctioning lights may be small, they still pop up in neighborhoods across the city from Ahwatukee to downtown.

"It’s just like like a strobe light from a flashlight," said Dante Scuderi, pointing to the street light outside his front door.

"Sometimes it can flicker at night. And it’s a little distracting, and I just know as my experience from being a nurse that when you have flashing lights like that it can cause seizures, which can be a safety hazard," said Sara Cote who lives down the street from a blinking street light.

CBS 5 Investigates found no documented reports of anyone suffering a seizure in Phoenix as a result of a blinking street light, but flashing lights are known to cause them.

"It doesn’t bother me. But my wife, who has Parkinson’s disease, she notices it and she has a problem with it," said Ken Bielek, whose wife avoids looking out their window at night because of the flashing street light in front of their home.

City officials say they want to hear from residents who see these lights. They say the only way to fix the problem light poles is to identify them first. You can find contact information for the City's LED light program here.

At this point, the street light replacement project is about 85 percent done. It is expected to save the city $22 million by 2030.

"At the end, once they are done with all of the installs and reviews, we will do our review as well and make sure that this project is fully completed to our satisfaction," said Hernandez.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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