18W LED Approved in Powercor and Citipower

Alexi Lynch
February 2014

In September 2013, Victorian distribution businesses Powercor and Citpower approved the use of LEDs on their networks and prepared an indicative maintenance charge for the 25W "StreetLED" light (nominal wattage is 25W but total wattage 29 watts when the control gear is included*). This allowed for a limited maintenance regime that excluded certain items that are likely to result in additional costs over the life of the light, but represented a major step forward for energy efficient street lighting in Victoria.

As of the 12th February 2014, the 18W LED is now offered as an approved standard fixture in the CitiPower and Powercor distribution areas.

This has now been superseded with the official approval in late January of the 18W StreetLED (total wattage 22 watts when the control gear is included). This approval is subject to several qualifications including some further testing. 

This represents a massive 77% reduction in energy use compared with the 80W Mercury Vapour lights which has a total wattage of 95.6 watts when control gear is included*.

Since September 2013 Ironbark have developed updated LED Business Cases, financial and technical feasibility studies for 27 councils in the Powercor and Citipower areas, and we're aware of nearly a dozen who are planning in installing LEDs in the next 6-12 months. What's more, the 72 councils that are signatories to the MAV standing materials panel will continue to receive updates with discounted prices for LEDs.

Standard Lighting Costs

Note that as of 1st February 2014 the StreetLED is still been offered as an approved standard fixture in the Citipower and Powercor areas. (Click here for information on the difference between standard and non-standard fixtures).

The OMR fee for the standard LED offer includes: 

  • Bulk PE Cell changeover (every 8 years)
  • Luminaire inspection for damage and visor cleaned and minor repairs completed (this may include visor replacements, broken/missing clips and tightening of bolts etc. as required)
  • Luminaire, LED module and/or LED driver replacement. Noting that if there are high failure rates this will be reflected in future OMR prices
  • Pole inspections including visual observations of any damage or performance impediments to the luminaire (any observations that require attention would be actioned as part of Powercor or Citipower’s maintenance program included in the OMR price - note this inspection cycle would vary depending on non-fire/fire areas).

For standard fixtures, the distribution business will keep replacement parts in stock. So councils won't have to source a replacement if items not covered under the OMR fail. For standard street lighting all or most of the spot and scheduled maintenance associated with the fixture is included within the annual Operating, Maintenance and Replacement (OMR) fee associated with the luminaire. 

The costs of the LED OMR does not include potential future failure of the LED module, LED driver/control gear (ballast) or full luminaire replacements. It is not unusual for the costs of the OMR to not reflect some of the future costs. For example, both the T5 and CFL OMRs do not cover the future failures of their control gear (ballast).

Because of this, due diligence should be included through an assessment of the expected lifespan, expected mortality rate and cost of individual components of an LED. Ironbark's work to assess the impacts of these exclusions are outlined in our business cases. We would not recommend choosing LED options (or any lighting type) without proper assessment of a revised financial business case.


*The nominal wattage includes only energy use of the lamp. The total wattage includes the energy consumed by the control gear, or ballast, of the luminaire. It is this total wattage which is more relevant. The 80W Mercury Vapours have magnetic ballasts that use nearly 16 watts each, while the LEDs, CFLs and T5s have electronic ballasts which use 4-5 watts each.