The city of Detroit announced on Monday, September 16 that workers completed the replacement project for thousands of LED streetlights that failed far sooner than expected. The city claims the replacement project cost between $7-8 million dollars, and it wants lighting manufacturer Leotek to pay for the replacement.
Earlier this year, tED magazine’s lightED reported nearly 20,000 Leotek E-Cobra Luminaires failed before the company’s 10-year warranty expired. The city filed a lawsuit claiming it spent nearly $4 million on the lights in 2014 and 2015, and it wants to be reimbursed for the labor needed to replace the lights. Leotek filed its own claim in the suit, saying it knew about the problem and wants to work on a solution, but the city has not been responsive to those efforts. The city says workers began the replacement project last June, working 10-hour days, six days a week to replace nearly 2,000 lights a week. The city says it wanted the project done before daylight started getting shorter in the fall.
The city’s law firm says it found the Leotek street lights were charred or cracked, and they were not providing a sufficient amount of light. A spokesperson for Leotek told a Detroit newspaper that there was a design flaw that was isolated and not widespread, and that Leotek made every attempt to resolve the problem. He also said Leotek provided the city with more than 8,100 replacement lights at no cost. Detroit say it installed about 1,500 of those replacement lights, but used America’s Green Line, Current, Powered by GE, and Cree for the rest of the lights.
Detroit would not make any other comments because of the pending litigation.
Last December, Leotek sent a letter to Detroit saying it will work with the city to correct any problems, but the city filed a lawsuit in federal court last May, claiming Leotek, “refused every attempt by the Public Lighting Authority to get the benefit of its warranties”. The case could end up in mediation next month.