The luminaire raising and lowering system includes a mast head in which a plurality of sets of pulleys are located. A carrier ring containing a number of lighting fixtures is suspended from the top head mast by a plurality of cables associated with respective ones of said sets of pulleys. Those cables are connected to a main winch cable through intermediate linkage means which compensate for differences in the length of said plurality of cables and enable the carrier effectively to "float". Means are also provided to monitor the tension on the main winch cable thereby preventing accidents due to undue slackness of the main winch cable or mispositioning of the same on the winch reel. Four cable and three cable systems are disclosed. Novel latching means are provided to take the load off of the suspension cables when the carrier is at the top of the pole in normal use.