• jamie posted an update 5 months ago

    Would appreciate input from any electricians on here, before I go and make a fool of myself.

    For my sins, I have ended up as the chair of the residential management company that runs the private estate I live on. We employ an agent to do much of the day-to-day work.

    I have noticed that our electricity bill seems enormous, and I’m fairly sure it is down to the street lighting. I’ve asked the agent to get an electrician to quote for switching everything over to low energy lighting. They were asked to look at three things; the big street lamps, the smaller bulkhead-type exterior lights, and the interior lights in communal stairwells.

    They’ve come back and said that it will cost £90/fitment for the interior lights and ‘a little more’ for the exterior ones ‘because they are sealed units’.

    I’ve just had a look myself. The exterior lights have easily removable covers, and turn out to contain four-pin 2D 28w CFL lamps. The interior ones are even easier to access, and already have edison screw fit 9w LED bulbs.

    Is there any conceivable reason that this electrician could have decided that they could not condone the continued use of the existing fittings and have recommended replacement? Is there some arcane rule that says you can’t just retro-fit LED bulbs to an external 4-pin bulkhead, but you’d have to renew the entire fitting?

    Or is this just an electrician trying to blag himself a few days’ work, thinking that as it’s a residential mangement company they’ll never know that it wasn’t necessary?

    (as a secondary question, does anyone know if it’s possible and financially reasonable to have the big streetlights retrofitted with LED? I think that’s where all the cost is actually going. My agent is sucking their teeth and saying that they think it’s SSE’s responsibility, but frankly if I’m paying the bills I reckon must have the right to put LEDs in!)

    • No electrical input, but just to make you aware that some agents have been known to recommend tradesmen who are willing to give them a cut of the job over those that might do a better price. I wouldn’t assume the agent has got your interests at heart.

      Personally I’d ask for 3 quotes and cut the agent out if you can.

    • I’ve just had a quote for our lights. 5 of them £500+vat. That’s replacement low energy bulbs about £40 each.

      The main cost is travelling to site and use of a high lift. Previously we’ve done a couple of lamps ourselves off a ladder but even the one of us who is a builder and does roofs doesn’t want to go up again.

    • Isn’t 28 W already reasonably low?

    • Thanks, all.

      No ladders or lifts involved – these are all accessible from the ground or, at most, a one foot high step.

      I just cannot work out any earthly reason that the answer was not “all the interior lights are already on LED, and the exterior ones should just be left with the 28w CFLs and gradually swapped to 12w LED as and when the bulbs blow”. Instead my agent’s ‘trusted and oft-used’ electrician has quoted about £3000 to change everything.

    • dave replied 5 months ago

      I can’t be arsed to give a big detailed reply here but if you want it done cheaper, then yes it can be done by retrofitting LED lamps instead of full replacements.

      2D 28w LED retro replacements are about £15 quid each max. Emergency packs a bit more where needed. Try CEF for starters.

      Streetlights. LED corn lamps to replace the HPS are £50 each and save you big time on elec bills. Plus you bypass all the running gear. No more poxy ballasts!

      Bulkheads, again whatever lamp they are, there is probably a retrofit replacement.

      We normally just change things as and when on the whole but replace areas at intervals (depends if the sun is out), outside street lights normally have the best payback when changing to LED.

    • Get the calculator and work out what the annual bill for x lights at 28w and y lights at 9w for z hours per day should be to see if you are being overcharged for electricity.

      £3k at £90 per fitting so say 30 fittings at 28w for 12 hrs per day is 4000 kwh or £500 per year – how does that compare with your bills and meter readings?

      A £150 per year if all LED.

      Does sound as if the electricIan is dodgy or sloppy with facts such as sealed vs unsealed.

      • It’s not that I think we’re being overcharged for the electricity itself – our bills are in line with the currently installed lamps. And I know what the likely savings from switching to LED will be.

        It’s that I think this electrician is trying to rip us off (with or without my agent’s knowledge) by making unnecessary exchanges of entire fittings.

        Before I go nuclear on the agent, I want to check that the isn’t some good reason that I have missed that the electrician might have recommended changing the entire fittings. Especially the interior ones – which I have just discovered already have LEDs but which he recommended swapping at £90 each…

    • ted replied 5 months ago

      “does anyone know if it’s possible and financially reasonable to have the big streetlights retrofitted with LED?”

      Our Government Electricity provider has recently done a program of changing out streetlights for LED ones, a whole new ‘head’ was required because the old heads were properly old. I don’t like them, the pool of light is so bright anywhere not in the pool is pitch black.