New app aims to improve San Francisco streetlight repairs 

San Francisco is making it easier to report broken or burned-out streetlights with a new smartphone app that officials say they hope will speed up repair times.

The new app, which was recently released by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, is called StreetLightsSF. Available on iPhones and Android phones, it allows users to pinpoint their location through GPS technology and then report an issue. They also can upload photos of the streetlight.

SFPUC spokesman Tyrone Jue said the app is an extension of the reporting that is run through the 311 system.

"We rely on the public to let us know when they are out," Jue said.

The City owns more than 25,000 streetlights, and non-city agencies such as PG&E operate others.

The complaints filed with the app run through the 311 system, so there is no duplication. But there is the GPS information, which could allow the SFPUC to determine who operates the streetlight and inform repair workers to bring the right materials on the first trip.

In 2012, the SFPUC responded to 3,260 outage requests, according to the agency. On average, it took five days to restore service. In the first quarter of this year, there have been 1,148 outage reports, and the restoration time is down to 3½ days.

Jue said the goal of the app is to bring down the repair time by more quickly routing the requests to the proper agency.

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