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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(5) comments

Brave Horatius

There’s only one with these new LED streetlights? Hardly, but flicker is a HUGE problem with these ill-suited lights. If one uses their slo-mo video on their phones they might find that all of the streetlights flicker, they just flicker super fast. Those, like woman who has Parkinson’s Disease are affected by the flicker whether it is visible or not. It is common knowledge that blue-rich LED lights at night are bad for all living things. These lights mimic the daytime sun. This will affect the production of melatonin dramatically and circadian rhythms will be off balance. Melatonin is a healing hormone that restores our bodies as we sleep. They will affect your retinas in an adverse way. You can test this by turning on your phone flashlight and staring at it. More light does not equal less crime. Crimes are committed under the noon day sun. This is all a bunch of nonsense politicians and manufacturers are throwing at us while they make their money. These lights will end up in a landfill within the span of 10 years. Until then, it is advised you block the light from your retinas as much as possible. I have raised awareness. Now it is up to those who have seen this to choose what to do. If you doubt me, you can find many articles online that speak to the dangers of blue-rich light at night. Or you can find out a couple years from now when you go to the eye doctor and find you have retinal damage that is irreversible. You truly should wear protective glasses at night. If you don’t doubt me and also already have concerns about LEDS, you are welcome to view or join our group on FB.


I still cannot understand how spending $30 million to replace functioning street lights can save money. Sure replace the burned out lights with the LED lights, however it will take many many years for $30 million of electricity will be saved. This is a typical stupid blunder by government again. I wonder who influenced the city councils around the valley to pull this stupid stunt. Someone who sells the lights? A government official who has investments in an LED lighting store?


Stop making sense


Show us your math. Do you know whether the replaced lights were functioning, and the cost analysis of determining which to replace and the schedule for it. Do you know the costs of electricity for old vs. new, the replacement cost for each, the MTBF of each, and the most common failure mode for each? If you don't have the data, your analysis is impaired. So explain yourself.


They replaced every light in my large neighborhood - EVERY ONE was working fine. Not only did they replace the lights they replaced the poles as well. You just cannot use your head to save TAXPAYER money.

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