Residential Header Graphic

Outdoor Lighting FAQ

Q. What are LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lights?
A. LED stands for "Light Emitting Diode." Traditional lighting sources produce light through a filament that eventually burns out. LEDs produce light when electrons move through a semi-conductor. LED technology is not new and has been used for decades. However, more recent LED technology has advanced to allow for streetlight and area light applications. LEDs are extremely efficient and have long life spans.

Q. What makes this new LED light smart?
A. In late 2018, an advanced photocell will be installed on all LED lights, providing additional benefits. For example, if a streetlight goes out today, Tampa Electric is not aware until it is reported by a concerned citizen. However, with smart LED lights, Tampa Electric will automatically be notified when the light requires attention. This means Tampa Electric will repair the light quicker. Additional benefits may become available in the coming years once Tampa Electric installs supporting communications equipment.

Q. Are you using the advanced photocell to watch me/people?
A. No, the advanced photocell does not watch or monitor individuals. The benefit of a smart photocell is that it can notify Tampa Electric if the light goes out or another problem occurs. This will result in quicker repair times

Q. Can I request that you turn the advanced photocell off?
A. Yes, we can turn off the smart photocell. However, please know that it will no longer provide the benefit of notifying Tampa Electric if the light goes out or another problem occurs. Once it is turned off, it will still act as a sensor that responds to the amount of light detected. When the light is too low, such as at dusk, it will turn the light on. When it detects to much light, such as at dawn, it will turn the light off.

Q. How long will it take Tampa Electric to upgrade all lights?
A. The planned upgrade will begin in late 2018 and take place over the next five years.

Q. What is the difference between an area light and a streetlight?
A. Area lighting is used to light private areas such as backyards, playgrounds, storage yards and general customer areas. These lights are installed as requested by a customer for a monthly fee. Street lighting is used primarily to illuminate the city's public thoroughfares and residential streets. However, street lighting is also available on private streets at an additional monthly cost to residents.

Q. Will the light from an LED look different?
A. Yes, unlike HPS (high-pressure sodium) lamps that cast a yellowish-white light, LEDs produce a bright, natural white light that's similar to a MH (metal halide) lamp. The light cast from an LED is similar to daylight and provides the most natural color accuracy of any outdoor lamp. Residential areas will receive LEDs that provide a softer white light with a color temperature no greater than 3000 Kelvin (K).

Q. Why is Tampa Electric upgrading to LEDs?
A. Tampa Electric is upgrading to LED technology to reduce energy consumption and maintenance costs, and to provide citizens with improved light quality. In addition, some of the HPS and MH lamps and fixtures have become obsolete as a result of market and governmental regulatory conditions, making it difficult to locate replacement parts. In late 2018, each new LED will be equipped with an advanced photocell – making it a "smart LED" – resulting in more benefits for you.

Q. Will the bright light from the LED keep me awake at night?
A. The LEDs we'll install are designed with a softer white light and should not affect sleep. The softer white light has a color temperature no greater than 3000 Kelvin (K).

Q. I lease one or more lights from Tampa Electric. Will the upgraded LED increase my monthly lease rate?
A. Most of our customers who currently lease one or more lights will see no rate increase because of receiving an LED. Those who will see a small increase will receive a letter making note of the increase prior to the upgrade.

Q. If energy-efficient LEDs use less energy, why don't I see a decrease in my monthly lighting costs?
A. Although LEDs are more energy efficient, the energy savings are offset by the increased cost in LED technology. LEDs cost about 50 percent more than traditional lighting. Most customers will not see an increase in cost because Tampa Electric is able to negotiate bulk pricing to keep costs as low as possible while ensuring a quality, durable and reliable product for our customers. If you lease lights, you'll receive a letter with more details about your specific upgrade.

Q. Although my existing area light works fine, I'd like to have it upgraded to LED technology now. Is this possible?
A. Yes, we can upgrade your light(s) ahead of schedule. However, this will require that you sign a 10-year lighting agreement. For assistance, please call Tampa Electric at the number listed below. View a map PDF Icon to see where our crews will be performing upgrades.

Q. There's a shield on my light today. Will the new light have a shield that helps direct the light?
A. Yes, if a shield is present today, the new light will include a shield.

Q. Can I have a shield added to help soften the light and reduce glare?
A. Yes, a shield can be added at an additional cost. To arrange to have a shield installed, please call Tampa Electric at the number listed below.

Q. Can Tampa Electric dim the new LED light?
A. Not at this time. However, our LED lighting will eventually tie to the company's smart meter network. Once this is complete around 2022, we will have the ability to review lights on a case-by-case basis and dim certain area and street lights.

Q. Will Tampa Electric inspect the pole when the existing light is upgraded to an LED?
A. Yes, crews will inspect the pole and enter a ticket if any repairs or upgrades are required.

Q. My neighbor (or a nearby business) has one or more LEDs that are too bright. What can be done?
A. We suggest that you talk with your neighbor to express your concerns and ask him/her to contact Tampa Electric at the number listed below to discuss options. We may be able to reposition the light. If that's not possible, we may be able to add a shield at an additional cost to the customer leasing the light. If you're not able to speak with your neighbor, please call the number listed above and we will reach out to the customer who is leasing the light(s) and try to work out a solution.

Q. I do not want the upgraded LED. I want to keep my existing light. What are my options?
A. The lamps and fixtures installed today have become obsolete as a result of market and governmental regulatory conditions, making it difficult to locate replacement parts. That's why Tampa Electric must upgrade all lighting. You are not required to get the upgrade. However, once your existing light goes out, it must be upgraded to an LED or we can remove the lighting fee from your bill.

Q. What kind of streetlights and area lights does Tampa Electric currently have?
A. Most streetlights and area lights today are equipped with HPS or MH lamps. HPS lamps cast a familiar yellowish-white light, whereas MH lamps cast a bright, white light. Although both types of lamps have served us well over the years, LED technology is replacing both.

Q. Will Tampa Electric change out my pole along with the light?
A. The LED upgrade applies only to lighting fixtures. However, if lighting crews observe any issues with a pole, they will notify a separate department that will perform an inspection and replace, if necessary.

Q. Will an LED light disrupt my sleeping patterns?
A. There have been several recent studies about the effect of light color spectrum on humans. Here are some results from the Department of Energy PDF Icon, National Electric Manufacturers Association, and the Lighting Research Center. The streetlights and area lights that customers have come accustom to since the 1800s use the same color spectrum as today's LEDs, and there are no known cases of disruption to sleeping patterns as a result of outdoor lighting.

Q. Where can I get more information about your LED offerings?
A. Start by selecting the "Your Lighting Options" tab above. Here you'll find our Bright Choices Outdoor Lighting brochure PDF Icon and more. If you have additional questions, please email your name as it appears on your electric statement, account number and phone to brightchoices@tampaelectric.com Email Icon. You may also call Tampa Electric:

  • Residential customers: toll-free 888-223-0800 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Business customers: toll-free 866-832-6249 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.