Why are some street lights in Tampa tinted purple? TECO explains

Local News

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — It’s something you might not notice unless you’re out in the early morning hours or after sunset.

Viewers have noticed a number of purple street lights in the Tampa area. 8 On Your Side reached out to the City of Tampa to ask why they were purple. They referred us to Tampa Electric.

We thought that was a pretty bright idea, so we called them up and got answers.

“Some of those lights, a few versions that were manufactured in 2019, are having some issues where the light might appear purple,” TECO spokeswoman Cherie Jacobs explained. “It’s an issue with the filters.”

Each streetlight comes with three filters that are red, yellow and blue, the primary colors. The yellow filters will sometimes malfunction, and the leftover filters will create a purple tint.

“So there’s red, blue, and yellow. If you take the yellow away, what are you left with? Red and blue, which makes purple. When all of those filters are not working right, it can distort the color of the light,” Jacobs said.

Crews are working to replace the bulbs and are asking for the public’s help in finding all the defective lights.

You can report defective lights just like you would a bulb that has gone out, by filling out a form on TECO’s website. You’ll be asked to write down the intersection closest to the light and the 10-digit number found on the pole. The light will be changed within five days after the form is submitted.

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