Always lit, but not with a simple switch

More than 88,000 light points illuminate the municipal roads of our capital city every day. They not only increase safety but also the comfort of road users. As night falls, the street lights come on, and they go off at dawn. But who is actually controlling all that light?

It's not about ordinary switches with us. Lamp posts, facade lights, hanging lamps, or built-in projectors – you can't just turn on or off a 1,600 km long street lighting network with a simple push of a button. To this day, we still use a CRC signal (Central Remote Control) to manage the light. This is a control signal transmitted via powerline communication over our electrical network.

How does such a CRC work?

The Brussels Capital Region is divided into various transmission areas. We generate and send out the CRC signal using various equipment located in each of the 42 electricity distribution substations spread across our territory.

This signal, which also regulates the transition from day to night in electricity meters, is transmitted across the entire Brussels electrical network according to an astronomical calendar. Each of the 8,000 electricity distribution cabinets that power the street lighting contains a special receiver that picks it up. Based on the received signals, the switches in these cabinets  the street lights to turn on or off.

From our dispatching center, we can monitor the transmission of signals and adjust the schedule as needed.

Light variations

You may have noticed that the street lighting doesn't come on everywhere at the same time or with the same intensity. This is largely the result of a long tradition of collaboration between Sibelga and local authorities. We aim to assist municipalities in managing their lighting more intelligently, sustainably, and cost-effectively.

Depending on the network structure, for example, we can dim LED lights by 40% in quiet streets between midnight and 4 am. In other locations, such as public parks that are closed at night, the lighting goes off completely. Good for biodiversity and the wallet!

Led there be light!

By 2030, Sibelga aims to establish a 100% smart public lighting network in Brussels with sustainable LED technology. These devices can be remotely configured and emit a signal in case of a defect.

Intelligent Street Lighting (ISL) is already being implemented at various locations in Brussels and will eventually replace the current CRC system for controlling public lighting.

Meanwhile, we continue to explore how to further integrate LEDs with smart control systems. Customized lighting variations should provide more light comfort and safety in the city. The future public lighting network will be more sustainable and flexible!