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Why are some street lights across Greater Cincinnati turning purple?

A Duke Energy spokesperson confirms the lights aren’t supposed to look this way.
(Phil Anderson)
Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 5:11 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - Some street lights are giving off a purple or blue glow in many parts of the country, including Greater Cincinnati.

People took to social media commenting that the purple cast was giving their street a spooky feel. Some wondered if it was an intentional choice.

Sally Thelen, the communications manager at Duke Energy, said the street lights are not supposed to be purple.

She explained a manufacturer defect is causing the color change and Duke has been actively working to replace the purple lights in their service areas.

Based off when they purchased the new lights from the manufacturer, the company estimates about 2,000 street lights in Greater Cincinnati may be impacted. Thelen said Duke has already replaced 1,200 defective street lights.

Duke originally got the new lights as part of an initiative to have more energy-efficient LED lights.

“Any time we replace a light, we’ll drive through the surrounding area to make sure there’s not anymore. Typically, we’re able to fix many of them through our routine patrols from our lighting department,” Thelen said.

This issue is not unique to Greater Cincinnati. People in many other parts of the country have been sharing images of purple street lights in their neighborhoods.

“It’s really happening across the country. Any utility company or municipality that purchased these lights from the same manufacturer is experiencing this,” Thelen said.

Duke asks anyone who sees purple street lights to request a street light repair by visiting the company’s website.

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