It’s Lights Out for City in Michigan

October 12th, 2011
in econ_news

dark Econintersect:  Highland Park, Michigan, is a dark town.  The streets of the Detroit suburb are not completely dark each night because there are lights on some of the street corners but many areas are no longer going to have street lights.  Why?  The city can’t afford the electricity and the streetlights have essentially been repossessed by the power company, DTE Energy.   According to The Detroit News, this has occurred because officials failed to pay a multimillion-dollar utility bill.

Follow up:

From The Detroit News:

DTE Energy crews have removed about 1,400 light poles from Highland Park as part of a settlement that allowed the city to avoid paying $4 million in unpaid bills going back several years. DTE, which says the work will be completed by Oct. 31, has replaced 200 lights with newer models on street corners, but most neighborhoods remain in the dark.

Highland Park, plagued by financial trouble, was able to reduce its monthly utility bill from $62,000 to $15,000, an amount officials say fits the city's budget.

The Detroit News reports that residents fear an increase in crime will result because of increased cover of darkness.  There have been reports of crime occurring after lights were removed, but mayor Hubert Yopp says studies show no increase in crime.  There is one report of an attempted protection extortion racket by a member of the city’s police force, which is being investigated.

Source:  The Detroit News

Hat tip to RH.

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