​Street Lighting Program

Neighborhood Street Lights

Residential streetlights, whether individual or for a whole subdivision, are installed by request within the city limits. CDOT works closely with Duke Energy to create a design for streetlights, whether the request is for an individual light or neighborhood lighting. To start the process, please call the CharMeck Call Center at 311. Once Duke Energy provides a design, CDOT will notify property owners within a defined impact area and allow for a 30-day appeal period.

Once the lights are installed, the City of Charlotte will pay for the power to operate them. The City also pays when the standard model is chosen (wood pole). If the neighborhood desires more decorative lighting, they will be responsible for paying upfront fixture and installation costs. Decorative costs currently start at approximately $1,200 per streetlight, depending on the fixture selected. Installation can take up to 10 weeks.


General Information & Installation Standards

  • Underground wiring is used only in areas currently served with underground utilities.
  • Decorative streetlights are available only in areas with existing underground utilities, unless the neighborhood agrees to pay the substantial charge for the underground cable installation.
  • Streetlight fixtures, whether the standard wooden poles or the more decorative fiberglass options, are always placed on public right-of-way. They are installed along the edge of pavement, in the planting strip or behind the sidewalk so they will not interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
  • Duke Energy will ensure that utilities in the right-of-way will be located through 811.
  • Private items in the right-of-way, such as sprinkler systems, invisible fencing, cables, wires, pvc conduits, household water lines, etc. are NOT the responsibility of Duke Energy or the City of Charlotte. It is recommended that such items be removed from right-of-way. At minimum, they should be flagged or otherwise marked so that they may be avoided. Duke Energy may also require vegetation to be cut or removed.
  • The Charlotte Department of Transportation retains exclusive authority to determine final placement of all streetlights.
  • Underground Electric Service Installation(PDF, 2MB)


Decorative Street Lights

Duke Energy Company provides several styles of decorative lighting fixtures. Decorative lighting is available for a one-time installation charge that covers the cost of the fixture and to place service to the lights underground. All lighting must remain consistent with what is currently in place or being proposed.

Caution should be used in selecting decorative lighting. Unlike standard fixtures that are mounted at 25 feet and focus light on the roadway, decorative lighting is mounted at 12 feet and may shine omnidirectional, which may not provide full lighting pattern coverage for a street with dark spots. Decorative lights are not available on thoroughfares or collector streets.


Design Preparation and Street Light Approval Process

Project requests are received and automatically placed in a queue. The street lighting coordinator will work with Duke Energy to develop a design to show the proposed location of the light(s) and how it will be powered. The proposed light placement is based upon Duke Energy's existing facilities and CDOT's lighting requirements (spacing, uniformity, existing infrastructure conflicts, etc.). Due to Duke Energy's existing projects schedule, it may take several months before a design is prepared.

A representative of Duke may meet you on site to finalize the plan. The finalized plan will be sent to the requestor by CDOT for review. Should the neighborhood request changes in the design that require additional underground work by Duke, the neighborhood will be asked to pay for the associated costs.

CDOT staff will issue appeal postcards to all parties within the impact area. CDOT staff will utilize GIS software to define the impact area of the proposed light. The impact area is defined as a 75’ radius around each proposed location. The appeal postcard will contain the website address to view the proposed design, information regarding items in the right-of-way (please refer to General Information & Installation Standards), and the street lighting coordinator’s contact information. 

If no appeals are received, CDOT will sign the service agreement provided by Duke Energy authorizing the installation of the light. Any costs the neighborhood is responsible for must be paid to Duke Energy prior to scheduling installation. Installation may take up to 10 weeks once the service agreement is signed. 


Appeal Process

Any owner within the defined impact area may appeal street lighting by filing a written notice of appeal with CDOT. Written appeals must be received within the appeal period (30-days).

Valid appeals will be heard through a quasi-judicial proceeding before the Department of Transportation Director or Deputy Director, or a hearing officer designated by the Department of Transportation Director or Deputy Director.

The only issues that may be raised on appeal are:

  1. Whether there is a public justification for the change and,
  2. Whether the method chosen (petition, HOA, appeal postcard pilot) to gauge neighborhood consensus was properly completed as required by CDOT.

A decision on appeal shall be subject to review by proceedings in the nature of certiorari instituted in the Superior Court of Mecklenburg County within thirty days.  A certiorari appeal shall not automatically stay implementation of any proposed treatments.

Request to Appeal Street Light Design/Location:  

Contact Candace Inge at candace.inge@charlottenc.gov 


Request for Upgrade of Street Lighting

  • Duke Energy will proactively upgrade high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights to LED, however, they charge an early upgrade fee of $40+tax/per light.
  • Duke Energy will upgrade older mercury vapor (MV) lights at no charge.
  • Upgrading any decorative lighting will need to be quoted by Duke Energy, as the cost will be substantially more because the entire decorative fixture will need to be replaced.
  • The City of Charlotte does not have funding to upgrade lighting; The upgrading cost is the responsibility of the requestor and/or the neighborhood.
  • It is important to report all street light outages to Duke Energy so they can be repaired;  any light that is out may be replaced with an LED by Duke Energy through standard maintenance and there will be no cost passed along to the community.


Street Light Repair

Do you have a street light out?

You may use the form on Duke Power's site or you can call Duke Power Company's Customer Service Center directly at 800.777.9898. *Call the CharMeck 311 Call Center by dialing 311. 

*Streetlight outages are faxed daily to Duke Power Company since Duke owns and maintains the equipment.


Thoroughfare and NCDOT Roadway Lighting

It is CDOT's goal to provide lighting on every thoroughfare throughout the city. Due to limited funding, we prioritize projects and install lighting as funding becomes available. We have approximately 170 miles of unlit thoroughfare streets within the city limits.
Currently, there is a priority list with over 200 thoroughfare street segments that do not have a dedicated funding source for the installation of lighting. We continually monitor the list, update as necessary, and seek to install lights on thoroughfares when opportunities such as capital projects, development, and standalone street lighting projects arise.
Additionally, any CDOT lighting plans for NCDOT maintained roadways must be reviewed by the NCDOT Roadway Lighting Team in Raleigh to ensure they meet the State’s photometric lighting requirements.
As part of Charlotte’s Vision Zero plan, we are actively upgrading existing thoroughfare streetlights to LED in order to provide brighter, more cost-effective lighting throughout the city.