Future directions - By Katherine Town Council

Article image - Future directions - By Katherine Town Council Cheriece Fry, Works Administration Officer, Katherine Town Council and Andrew Harvey, General Manger Power Projects, the company installing the street lights.

Often called the ‘Crossroads of the North’ because of its location, Katherine is the fourth largest town in the Northern Territory and is located 312 km southeast of Darwin on the Katherine River.

With a population of over 11,000 people, the Municipality of Katherine covers an area of 7421 square kilometres. The Katherine Town Council (KTC) is dedicated to providing quality services to our community.

On the 24 May 2017, Council begun to replace all of the townships streetlights with 855 smart LED lighting fixtures. Although replacing streetlights with LED fittings is common practice, KTC have deployed a city wide smart lighting control system to monitor and control each individual light fitting. In an Australian first, Katherine is integrating LED lighting with a smart lighting control system for an entire town.

This system will incorporate advanced real time power monitoring and lighting controls with the ability to also monitor and control its solar lighting assets deployed in the parkland areas into one central management system. This is deployed in a 3G-4G highly secure cloud based solution developed by Green Frog Systems in Adelaide and its technology partner Cimcon lighting from the USA. Even though Katherine’s township is spread out, we only require six gateways (data coordinator units) across the whole township to control the 855 lights. The complete system communicates the status of all lights with no dependence on existing IT infrastructure in the field as it communicates by a SIM card based device (gateway) connected to the Telstra network on selected light fittings that uploads to the cloud.

What makes this system unique is that each light reports back its actual power consumption in real time enabling Council to identify actual power usage instantaneously or use its inbuilt historical reporting based on billing cycles from its electricity retailer. Although in a pilot mode it is hoped the actual power measurement will enable a cost recovery model based on actual usage rather than a fixed cost per quarter for each streetlight.

Other inbuilt features include real-time reporting of light status including type of fault such as no power, LED driver or LED failure and a unique sensor to notify KTC staff if a pole has been knocked over by a vehicle enabling rapid repair response. The system as standard will allow dimming of the lights for use in non-street environments but will enable us to pilot dimming of streets at a later date.

Specific modifications to the light fitting under direction from KTC has allowed the installers to replace a light fitting and commission the light in 15 minutes enabling the whole project to be completed within one month of commencement.

Katherine Town Council are excited to be able to introduce this technology that will provide increased cost efficiencies and flexibility to our community.