Powering Strong Communities

North Carolina Utility Launches App To Report Streetlights In Need Of Repair

The city of High Point, North Carolina, has begun using an app to track burned out streetlights.

“In the past, citizens had to call in lights to a customer service center, then an operator manually entered a work order, which was then dispatched to a service crew,” Tyler Berrier, electric utilities assistant director for High Point, said via email. “We have eliminated the need for all of those manual processes.”

The app allows anyone to see a map of the streetlights and report a problem with a specific light for the city to repair. High Point maintains nearly 27,000 streetlights.

High Point began developing the app in early 2021, and it launched this month. The public power utility developed the app with integration help from DataVoice, its outage management software provider.

So far, the response has been “great,” Berrier said. “We’re receiving notices via the app regularly now, so folks seem to be embracing it.”

In the first week, the utility received 27 notices of streetlights in need of repair. On average, the city sees around 1,750 work orders per year for streetlight and outdoor light repairs.

The utility advertises that requests received from the app will be fixed in three to five business days, but on average the repairs are happening more quickly, usually in one or two days, Berrier said.

In all, the app cost about $13,000 to develop and deploy, but a large portion of that cost was an already scheduled system update that was integrated into the deployment of the update, Berrier said.

With the streetlight app only about two weeks old, it is still too early to assess cost savings from the program, but “we hope to continue to automate processes going forward to streamline operations in this area and in others,” Berrier said.

Berrier said that the utility’s next focus will likely be implementing advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) “so we can give customers real time usage data and more option.”

“Process improvement is not a one-time thing,” Berrier said. “it’s a continual adaptation that we’ll look at with all aspects of our operations going forward.”