Thousands of defective ‘purple’ LED street lights need replacing across NC

North Carolina news

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WJZY) – Duke Energy crews say they need help from the public in identifying thousands of street lights across the state that are defective.

You may have already spotted a defective light and not even know it. The street lights are LED and appear to be giving off a purple or blue haze.

The City of Charlotte and the surrounding area are lit by hundreds of street lights that are maintained by Duke Energy.  Within the past few years, 369,000 lights across the state have been upgraded to a more energy-efficient LED version.

Working LED street lights give off no color, but defective versions of these lights will appear blue or purple in color.

“We just moved here recently from Charleston, it was kinda the first thing I noticed because I thought it was so out of place,” said Grace Gore.

The manufacturer of the defective LEDs says the defect gradually causes the lights to turn purple. Right now the issue impacts several thousand lights across Central and Western North Carolina. Duke Energy leaders say that accounts for less than 1.4% of all LED street lights.

Now that people know they’re considered rare, spotting a purple light is turning in to a competition.

“Oh, 100%. I am going to look for all of them now,” said Gore.

Duke Energy leaders say they actually encourage people to look for the purple lights and to report them so they can be fixed right away.

Duke Energy crews have also been told to be on the lookout for the purple lights so they can be replaced.

If you spot a defective light you can report it to Duke Energy by using the “Request a street light repair” form by clicking here or you can call 1-800-777-9898.

The defective lights are a nationwide problem being reported by other energy companies, but Duke Energy leaders say the defects are from a single manufacturer and they are working with that company to ensure the problem doesn’t happen again.

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