Citywide street lighting is provided for the safe operation of roads and sidewalks in Saint Paul. Public Works Traffic & Lighting Division is responsible for the street light installation, repair, and maintenance on all city-owned streets, bridges, paths and trails in Saint Paul. Our street lighting system includes more than 37,000 light fixtures on 32,000 light poles.

Report Broken Street Lights

To report broken street lights, traffic signals, or traffic signs in need of repair complete the online form. For after hours emergencies such as a street light or signal pole knocked down call 651-266-9700.

Report a Broken Alley Lights

To report any alley light problems call Xcel Energy at 1-800-960-6235.

Alley lights are installed and maintained by Xcel Energy at the request of adjacent property owners. Property owners arrange for alley lights directly with Xcel Energy. They also pay the cost of installation, maintenance, and operation of any alley lights.

Why Are The Street Lights Out or Dark? Wire Theft

The City of Saint Paul Department of Public Works maintains more than 37,000 street lights and 32,000 light poles throughout Saint Paul. Street lights are a critical part of the City’s infrastructure because they provide illumination for safe pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicle access within the City right of way (sidewalks, boulevards and streets). Street lights can also serve as a general deterrent for unlawful activities. 

In the recent years the City of Saint Paul has experienced significant and reoccurring theft of the wire from street light fixtures both in City right of way and parks. While this issue is not unique for other cities and municipalities across the nation, Saint Paul has seen an increase in wire theft since early 2021.

Stealing the wire from the street lights is not only illegal and leaves many of our neighborhoods, roadways, and parks dark for extended periods of time, but also can be dangerous to the thieves – as we are leaving more lights energized during the day to deter theft. In addition, the thieves often do significant additional damage to the internal conduits, external base, and entire system which takes additional time, resources, and costs to be repaired and replaced along with the missing wire.

If residents notice that the street lights are "on" during daytime hours, please know that this is intentional. The energized lights helps deter, but not prevent, wire theft.

City staff has put additional resources to repair and replace street lights that have been damaged due to wire theft, only to have the new wire stolen again within a matter of hours. More areas of Saint Paul remain dark as we cannot repair and replace the wire as fast as it is being stolen.

We need the support of residents and businesses to stop street light wire theft!

Wire theft is not random, but often organized and coordinated with people even wearing vests and putting out cones. If you see anyone “working” on street lights during any time of the day or night and there is a not a City of Saint Paul vehicle near the site, please report the location and activity to the Saint Paul Police Department at 651-291-1111. Do not approach the “workers.”

To report any street lights that are out or damaged, please report the location through the online form.

Message to Businesses that Recycle/Resell Copper Wire & Other Materials:

As a business entity or recyclers, we need your help to curtail and end this endemic issue!

More specifically, the City of Saint Paul is requesting any business, individual, or entity that receives, processes, recycles, or otherwise pays a third party (or person) for any recyclable materials (especially wire) to be cognizant of the negative impacts that wire theft is causing to the overall safety and livability in our neighborhoods and community. 

The City of Saint Paul asks for your partnership by rejecting any and all materials (including, but not limited to wire) that are suspected to have come from City lighting systems, and to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency when those suspicions can be confirmed.         

Your awareness, diligence, and cooperation of not accepting materials that are potentially stolen can deter wire theft, preserve this critical City infrastructure, and improve the community for all.        

Why Are the Street Lights Purple?

Saint Paul has had several reports of "purple-colored" street lights. This is not intentional by the City, but rather a manufacturer's defect and failure of the LED bulb installed in many of the City's "cobra style" street lights. 

If you see any street lights that have a purplish-hue or color to them, please report the number of street lights and location to Saint Paul's Lighting Division at 651-266-9777.

Saint Paul Public Works is tracking and replacing the failing LED bulb units as they appear. There is no safety issue, but it is a nationwide manufacturing product issue that is appearing with the Autobahn lights that were installed between 2017 and 2019 as cobra style LED replacements.

Street Lighting LED Conversion

Saint Paul is in the process of converting the street lighting system to modern 3,000 Kelvin (K) Light-Emitting-Diode (LED) technology.

Please see the Frequently Asked Questions document for more information.

Last Edited: September 20, 2023