Birmingham will save £2 million a year in electricity charges when it swaps thousands of ageing street lights for hi-tech models, it has been claimed.
Amey, the local authority’s public services provider, said the new Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) which will replace the current bulbs will provide the city with the most advanced public lighting system in the world.
Amey electrical manager Graham Scragg said the new lights will need less maintenance so the city council’s annual £4 million bill for keeping the streets lit will be slashed in half within five years.
The project is being carried out as part of a 25-year highways maintenance contract which will see the council pay £2.7 billion.
So far, 2,000 of a total of 40,000 old street lights have been replaced across the city.
Mr Scragg explained that instead of using a single bulb, each new street light now boasts a number of LEDs which will last longer.
Using smaller lights will also allow engineers to focus the beam on to streets and stop it from shining through windows, he said.
Eventually they could be dimmed at the touch of a button during the small hours from a state-of-the-art city council control centre in the basement of Lancaster House, near to the old West Midlands Fire Service headquarters, he added.
“Without doubt Birmingham will have the most advanced public lighting system in the world,” said Mr Scragg.
“As well as the financial savings, you cut down on a lot of the labour costs because these lights are guaranteed for 25 years.”
The scheme will take place in residential neighbourhoods at first and is likely to coincide with repairs to pavements.
A further 45,000 street lights as well as 12,000 traffic signal bulbs will follow during the life of the 25-year deal at a total cost of £80 million.
Kamyar Tavassoli, the city council’s head of infrastructure, said: “There is no final decision yet on whether the lights will be dimmed and we would consult with residents.
“One of the advantages of the 25-year contract is that we can invest in new technologies.”