Practices & Innovations

Street Light Copper Wire Replacement

Contributor: Surrey (City)
Year: 2015
Category: Excellence in Action
Award Details: UBCM Excellence Award Winner - Best Practices (Excellence in Action)
Short Description:
With rising market costs, scrap metal and copper wire theft has created significant problems across North America.  Since 2005, Surrey experienced a dramatic increase in copper wire theft from the City’s street light system, costing Surrey taxpayers over $14 Million and creating a safety threat to residents and motorists. To combat copper wire theft, the City was strategic, innovative and pioneers by developing a Street Light Copper Wire Replacement program that consisted of evaluating technical alternatives to copper wire, establishing partnerships with local suppliers and contractors to minimize risks, and becoming the first municipality in North America to implement such program on a city-wide basis.  Once implemented, 2,600 km of copper wire within 29,000 street light poles was replaced with an aluminum alloy wire of negligible scrap metal value. Within one year of completion, the City successfully eliminated copper wire theft and realized a savings of $2.3 Million annually. 
Last Reviewed: August 12, 2016, 10:28 am