Until the mid-1950’s, the City did not require developers of housing, commercial and industrial property to install street lighting. So in the older areas of the City, most streets did not have streetlights, unless the developer voluntarily installed them, or a neighborhood group or their Council Office started a project to install them at the property owners’ expense.
Only those who have street lighting pay for it. Through the purchase of a property which has street lighting, or through an assessment for a street lighting project, property owners pay for installation of street lighting in Los Angeles. Maintenance costs are assessed annually. This is not paid for from the basic property taxes or other taxes. New assessments require a vote of the property owners in compliance with Proposition 218, now part of the California Constitution.
In Los Angeles, there are lights on wooden power poles (Utilitarian Lights), and lights on steel or concrete poles (Electrolier Streetlights). The following are descriptions of each.
UTILITARIAN LIGHTS (ON WOODEN POWER POLES)
Upon request by nearby residents or businesses, the City may install one light on an existing power pole at an intersection, or on a street or in an alley no closer than every 300 feet, at no cost for installation or maintenance. This lighting is only for minimal traffic safety. The DWP does the physical installation. See our “How to get a Streetlight” section to request a Utilitarian Light.
ELECTROLIER STREETLIGHTS (ON STEEL OR CONCRETE POLES)
This type of installation will provide an engineered lighting system on steel or concrete poles. Electrolier lighting is designed to provide continuous and uniform lighting on streets and sidewalks. Property owners are responsible for their share of the construction and maintenance costs. A vote by the benefitting property owners is required in accordance with Proposition 218. The City policy is to install electroliers with underground wiring that meets our standards for lighting level and uniformity. See our “How to Get a Streetlight” section to download a petition and begin the process.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) lamps are being used in most parts of the City. They are about 63% more efficient than high pressure sodium lamps, incandescent lamps, and mercury vapor lamps overall. LED lamps are generally white but can come in different colors. They do not attract flying insects the way other lamps do. LED lamps are installed to replace high pressure sodium, incandescent, and mercury vapor lamps in an effort to save energy, reduce CO2 emissions and reduce operating cost. Replacement LED lamps are designed to provide more illumination than the lamps that are being replaced. For questions about lighting modernization or replacement, call (213) 847-1400.
The Bureau of Street Lighting (Department of Public Works) has overall responsibility for design, construction and operation of street lighting in Los Angeles. Most electrolier streetlights are installed by private contractors under contract with the Department of Public Works, or under permits related to private developments. The Bureau of Street Lighting also provides petitions and information for electrolier lighting projects. See the particular telephone numbers for the service wanted below.
In general, property owners that will benefit from electrolier streetlights pay the installation cost for new streetlighting. Benefitting property owners are also responsible for paying for the maintenance and electrical energy costs required to operate streetlights on an annual basis.
In Los Angeles the property owners are responsible for the full cost of maintenance of their streetlights. The maintenance cost is billed to property owners as an assessment on their County tax bill. A typical, annual street lighting maintenance assessment for a residential street is approximately $90 for each single family residential property on a lot of .2 acres or less. The City provides electricity, relamping and cleaning, all needed repairs, information, and eventual modernization and replacement of the streetlights from this assessment.
INSTALLATION OF ELECTROLIER STREETLIGHTS (ON STEEL OR CONCRETE POLES)
If your street is lighted with only streetlights on wood power poles or your street has no street lighting at all, the Bureau of Street Lighting can design and construct a new system for you. A petition from the Bureau of Street Lighting is required and may be obtained by calling (213) 847-1400 or by visiting the “Residents” section of our website (bsl.lacity.org). The petition will include costs, description of lighting and other information. Current construction cost per 50-foot wide lot for a modern lighting system on most residential streets is approximately $5,000. Annual maintenance assessments are approximately $90 per residential property calculated in accordance to lot area acreage. Special or ornamental lighting systems will result in a higher annual maintenance assessment.
UPGRADING EXISTING ELECTROLIER STREETLIGHTS
Upon request, The Bureau of Street Lighting will investigate the existing street lighting system to determine what work is required to upgrade the lighting. The annual maintenance assessment may increase if the electrical energy usage increases or if special equipment is requested.
To request better lighting or to have your property brought into the lighting district call (213) 847-1400.
For general questions regarding street lighting call (213) 847-1400.
For street lighting repairs call (3-1-1).
For questions about street lighting maintenance assessments, call (213) 847-1500.
Requests for services may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bureau of Street Lighting
1149 S. Broadway, Ste. 200
Los Angeles, CA 90015