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Why are some streetlights turning purple across Central Florida?

Aug 20, 2023

Jacob Langston, Digital Journalist

ORLANDO, Fla. – By now, you’ve probably spotted at least one streetlight turning a blueish-purple hue while walking or driving in the evening.

No, they’re not meant to be that color. While the lights still work as their intended purpose, there is a manufacturer defect that was recently identified, according to Duke Energy and Acuity Brands, the maker of the lights.

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The effect occurred in a small percentage of American Electric Lighting fixtures with components that have not been sold for several years, according to a news release from Acuity. Acuity said it is due to a "spectral shift caused by phosphor displacement" usually seen years after installation.

"The light output is in no way harmful or unsafe. As always, we stand behind the quality of our products, and we have been proactively working with customers who have experienced the issue to address any concerns," Acuity said.

The Florida Department of Transportation said they are working with the manufacturer on the replacement of the lights, an issue they said is "being experienced not just here in Florida, but nationwide."

The department also said while the lights are not the "desired color," they provide intended safety benefits.

Duke Energy said they believe that the issue affects around 2,000 lights in their service territory in Florida.

We have been upgrading many of our older, less efficient lights with LED lighting over the last few years, and plan to continue this transition in the years ahead.

While the vast majority of our LED lighting performs very well in communities across the state, we have identified a small pocket of LED lights in our service that have turned from the standard white color to a deep purple color. The change in color is due to manufacturer defect that was recently identified and is being addressed. The defect causes the color of the light to gradually turn purple. The light otherwise continues to work.

Duke Energy is replacing the lights as they are identified and said that once the affected light is reported that the light is typically repaired within a few days.

A spokesperson with Duke Energy said residents can request a street light repair by visiting their online street light repair tool.

Florida Power & Light said in a statement that customers can report streetlights displaying purple color by calling 1-800-4-OUTAGE.

We are aware that some LED streetlights are emitting a purple hue rather than the standard white light. Most importantly, these streetlights are safe and will not impact visibility. The purple hue is the result of a manufacturer defect and is impacting streetlights nationwide. We are working with the manufacturer to replace the affected lights as the required parts become available.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to correct this issue. FPL remains committed to continuously improving the service we provide our customers.

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