January 15th, 2021

Programmable lighting systems require permits

By Jensen, Randy on June 30, 2020.


The City of Lethbridge says programmable, coloured lighting can be a great way to have a year-round festive atmosphere at your home. But, did you know they have to be installed by a licensed electrician and inspected by the City to be deemed safe and meet the requirements of the Canadian Electrical Code?

Building Inspection Services can assist residents with understanding the installation requirements for these lighting systems, often referred to as soffit lighting. While some systems may be marketed as safe to install yourself or for installation by your local handyperson, there are a few regulations that need to be followed for the safety of you and your home or business:

– An electrical permit is required;

– The installation needs to be done by an electrical contractor with a City of Lethbridge business licence; and

– If already installed, an approved/passed electrical inspection report is required.

“As a community, we value safety and the well-being of our residents,” says Ken Forbes, Senior Electrical Inspector with the City. “We are aware of many of the companies selling and installing this product. We know the product is being installed incorrectly and unsafely around the city and we know the dangers of what could happen if the product is installed incorrectly. We’re able give clear direction to residents on what needs to be done to make the product safe.”

The City encourages residents and businesses to be aware and educated about the products they’re installing. Building Inspection Services is available to help with residents who believe their system may be installed incorrectly or without permits at:



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Citi Zen

My low voltage LED soffit lights use a plug-in 12 volt ac/dc adapter, same as my LED desk lamp. If those need professional installation, permits and inspections, then so does my desk lamp. Absurd!


I don’t care if my neighbors use outdoor lights I just don’t want to see them just like I don’t want to hear whatever music they are listening to or their dog barking. City of Lethbridge doesn’t seem to understand how obnoxious light at night can be and how destructive it is on the eco system of our back yards. In reading about light pollution and hearing talks on it, I see it as a major problem in society. Wish the local nature groups and local astronomy people would get their head out of the sand and take some action.
Here is a good website:


This is another example of the overreach of the city’s building department. Calgary doesn’t require permits hmmm I wonder why?

Rick Huziak

Well, programmable lights all over your house may have a festive atmosphere all year round, but it may not be so for neighbours who don’t want your lights shining in their windows all night long. This also doesn’t do anything for bats, birds and insects who use the darkness of night to eat mosquitoes, protect their nests and to pollinate plants for your food. With all-night light, they won’t do this. So in the absence of a light trespass and light pollution nuisance bylaw, the City should really take the next step and regulate not only the installation, but also time-of-use, so that the lights are not a nuisance all night long when others are trying to sleep. Also, since the City seems bound and determined to have a GHG and energy reduction program, it also seems quite counterproductive for them to allow the addition of energy to the environment with no regulation around it. LED lights have *not* saved energy on the average, but the widespread use of LEDs for advertising and decorating has now *increased* world use by 2.2% per year … and climbing … not reduced it as advertized by the lighting industy. See: