Street lighting fault reporting

How to report a faulty or failure of a street light online or by phone.

Report a street light fault

Report a street light fault, as well as other street lighting problems, through our online reporting tool Fixmystreet.

Report it by phone

Call 0800 317802 or 0345 310 1111.

To report serious or dangerous damage such as exposed live cables, outside normal office hours call 0345 310 1111 or Thames Valley Police on 101.

If you are reporting a damaged streetlight it may be dangerous, especially if any wiring can be seen. You should not attempt to help by covering up or touching the wires but, if necessary, you should warn children to keep away.

What you need to tell us

Most repairs are carried out in the daylight when it is not easy to establish which light is faulty without accurate information. You can help us repair the fault quickly by telling us:

  • which town or village it is in
  • which road or street it is in
  • the number of the unit (this is normally found on the street side of the column approximately two to three metres up. It is normally a black number on a white square)
  • other information to help us locate it: what number house it is outside or some other adjacent building or landmark
  • what the fault is

LED replacement work

We have identified areas that have lighting columns coming to the end of their structural life. We will be using the newest technology including LED lights to replace them. The new streetlights will operate more efficiently, save energy, need less maintenance, and reduce costs in the long term.

Where required we will not only be replacing the lighting unit but the column itself. We are not planning to move any columns. To keep disruption to a minimum, we will fill holes and remove barriers by the end of each day.

Each replacement may take between 4-5 hours to remove the old column, install the new one, and get it connected.

We may need to suspend parking while work is carried out. 

Any changes will be updated on this web page. Local councillors will be informed to ensure they are clear about our plans ahead of the programme being developed.

More information

Faults repaired within 7 working days

Our termed contractor will aim to have faults repaired within 7 working days. However, there may be some circumstances that this time for repairs may be extended.

If it is an electricity supply fault this will be passed to the local electricity network operator to attend and rectify as we cannot work on their network, their response will also be extended.

Our responsibility

We are responsible for:

  • maintaining the county council's street lights, illuminated traffic signs and bollards on the public highway but we do not maintain lighting in private areas, private car parks or on new housing developments 
  • administering the contract to supply them with electricity
  • designing new street lighting installations and approving designs from developers.

Maintaining and testing

We identify faults when reported by members of the public or staff, we also have night patrols checking for outages to all areas within Oxfordshire.

Electricity supply faults

Our response standards apply to all electrical faults within our control. Often the fault is a failure in the electricity supply, which is the responsibility of the energy supplier. In Oxfordshire, this is mainly Scottish and Southern Energy, with Western Power covering the Banbury area and UK Power Networks covering Thame and Chinnor.

Unfortunately, any power failure due to cable/supply fault is outside the control of Oxfordshire County Council and has to be dealt with by the local electricity supply company, to whom this has been reported. In the home or office, the electricity company is bound by a charter to ensure continuity of supply. They are under no such obligation to local authorities for street lighting, and our ability to obtain a speedy service from them is limited to friendly persuasion.

Our contractor is not permitted in any way to interfere with or try to repair electricity supply faults, as they would be in breach of the statutory safety regulations if they tried to do so.  Once the electricity supply company advises us the fault is rectified we will confirm this within our regular inspection programme to ensure that the light as a whole is in working order.

Damage from road traffic accidents

We attend and make it safe within a 24-hour period. Column replacement, if required, will take place as soon as we are able to do so.  Where possible, costs are recouped from those found to be responsible.

Hanging festive lights from columns

Permission is required from us before hanging festive decorations from street lighting columns.
While festive lighting, such as Christmas decorations and hanging baskets may look attractive, it is essential that these do not put the public at risk, or obscure or damage highway lighting columns. For this reason, the columns must be structurally tested, the costs borne by the applicant.

There is a code of practice for festive lighting. Copies can be obtained from the Institute of Lighting Professionals. Any festive lighting that is erected is the responsibility of the owner, not the county council. This includes responsibility for maintenance and the cost of electricity used.

Attaching anything to a lighting column

Modern lighting columns are critically designed for structural strength. For this reason, we do not allow any advertising signs etc. to be attached to our equipment. Only approved and necessary signs are allowed.

Requesting additional lighting

Unfortunately, our budget is strictly for the maintenance, emergency, and energy costs of our existing assets and not for the repositioning of existing or the addition of new lighting installations. However, if the parish council were prepared to fund the initial installation /servicing costs and pay a commuted sum (this is an upfront sum to cover future maintenance costs) we would look into taking on future energy and maintenance costs for that installation as long as it is installed on the public highway and to our specification.

In rural areas, new lighting will only be provided in consultation with the local councils. A test will be whether it is necessary (for road safety or security reasons), affordable and sustainable

It may also be worth contacting Thames Valley Police to see if they would be prepared to fund the initial installation and servicing costs if this area is known as an accident ‘hotspot’ or if there are reports of anti-social behaviour in the area. 

Checking lights that burn during daylight hours

The majority of our streetlights are controlled by photoelectric cells. If a fault occurs on a photocell it will fail in the on position causing our light to burn in the daytime. 

We do not undertake complete inspections of all our equipment to detect day burning lanterns but rely mainly upon reports of these.

There is no additional cost to us because of the way we pay for our electricity (unmetered supply), but it is still important that these are reported to us for repair as they do use additional energy that could be saved.

Trees or bushes obscuring a light

If you have a tree or bush in your garden that is affecting the efficiency of a street light, please keep it trimmed. This includes bushes that surround the base of the column or sign as access is needed for inspections and testing for electrical safety.
If we discover a problem, we will write to the owner of the land from which the tree is growing asking for the tree/bush to be trimmed. If no action is taken, we will arrange for the trimming and may pass the cost on to the owner.

Streetlights turning off at night

As part of our carbon action plan, we have implemented various carbon and council tax-saving measures.  One of these is to switch off street lights in residential areas from 12.30 - 5.30am, where safe to do so and with parish council approval.  We also use dimming technology for the same reason.

Damaged street lighting columns

There is an annual column replacement programme. This is designed to identify and replace lighting columns that are in a bad structural condition through age. We try and do this on a whole road basis. We have an annual programme of electronic structural testing of approximately 3,000 columns per year which is carried out by a specialist contractor.

LED installation

It is our policy to install LED lanterns where appropriate to all new column positions and any replacement lanterns to reduce energy and use the most up-to-date technology. Manufacturers are now focusing on the development of LED products, thus making some of our older parts and fittings obsolete. In this instance where parts can’t be obtained, an LED equivalent will be fitted.

Managing increasing energy costs and reducing our carbon footprint

It is our policy to use the newest technology available to reduce energy consumption and maintenance visits; this is including LED lanterns on all new column replacement schemes, new housing developments and on maintenance when a new lantern is required. This also includes all new lanterns dimming to 50 per cent light output on residential roads from 10pm to 6am and 75 per cent on traffic routes from 12 - 6am.