Questions to ask on the City owning the streetlights.

As I said before, the clear and well-intentioned effort to save money by turning on and off streetlights is not to be criticized on this blog.        Public debate can go back and forth on this.      As I said before, my opinion is purely selfish.    I want the streetlight outside of my house turned off so I can sleep in blessed darkness without having to drape my windows with heavy fabric.

But all of a sudden, this crazy talk of the city owning the streetlights has come up.       I thought we had barely enough money to keep city government functioning?

So, I have a series of questions to ask the Mayor, City Council and National Grid:

If this ‘owning’ is supposed to help the turning on and off of the lights, this seems strange.     I don’t pay National Grid to turn my lights off and on, I just reach over and flip the switch.       Why do we have to pay National Grid for this privilege?

In what area has the city successfully maintained what it owns in long-term planning & infrastructure?

How will the purchasing of lights change future plans for putting the utility lines underground?    Besides the obvious goal of safety, will this nix the future of preserving our trees from constant mutilation?

Violence against our trees

Is everyone suffering from tunnel vision or is it just Molly Ettenborough and the Energy Advisory Committee?        MOST of the 1700 lights are attached to utility poles!!!

Pole w Lights

Now a question for National Grid.      What is the annual maintenance & upkeep for the lights?

Another one for National Grid.    What percentage of lighting will need to be replaced?    For the next 5 years?     For the next 10 years?        

And yet some more.     If we own the lights, do we have control over the pole? (My guess, is not!)      Do we have a say about undergrounding the wires?       Do we have the freedom to put up a standalone light?

Here’s four for the City.   What fiscal year 2012 budget line item will be allocated to maintain these lights?       This by the way involves far more than three government workers or more changing a light bulb!      Why are there over ten lights (That I could count) not functioning in the downtown area?       Who’s suppose to fix them and keep them going?        If a light on a pole is directly above a colonial streetlamp, do we buy both?

And finally, “Where will the money come from?”

I can just imagine the answers!

-P. Preservationist


About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
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One Response to Questions to ask on the City owning the streetlights.

  1. Ari Herzog says:

    I can answer some of your questions right now, mystery person.

    First: National Grid doesn’t own the poles, so the mayor’s idea is to purchase the lights they do own that sit on top of the poles.

    Second: Utility wires are not restricted to National Grid, but also Comcast, Verizon, etc. We do have a say in undergrounding wires. It’s a question I frequently ask.

    Third: The downtown lights along Pleasant Street, Inn Street, etc. that are more lantern-shaped and not pole-topped are not owned by NG but by the city. DPS maintains those.

    Fourth: DPS and the city electrician would continue to manage the lights in the city.

    Fifth: You *do* pay NG to turn on/off your lights, so why do you suggest you don’t? Every time your kitchen light turns on, you’re telling NG to bill you. Every time the streetlight turns on, the city and your tax dollars pay NG to bill, too.

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