Streetlights left on all day are ‘wasting cash’

ON Lights in King Henry Street
ON Lights in King Henry Street
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PORTSMOUTH City Council has been accused of wasting cash by leaving streetlights on all day.

Dozens of ‘day burners’ are reported to the city council, with readers of The News sending us pictures of streetlights left on in Commercial Road, Staunton Street and King Henry Street.

Streetlights are controlled by photo cells, which act like automatic light switches, turning on when there are low levels of light, and off when there are high levels.

Martin Lavers, the council’s assistant head of transport and street management, said: ‘Streetlights are not deliberately kept on during the day.

‘On some occasions a photo cell may develop a fault and turn onto “fail safe” mode, where it switches itself on for 24 hours to make sure it’s still on at night.

‘On other occasions, where the lights are heavily shadowed by trees, the photo cell switches itself on as low light is recognised.

‘And in some instances there may be a spike in electricity, which can cause the resister to blow.

‘This again will put the photo cell in the “on” position as a fail safe.

‘We ask anybody who contacts us to give us full details of the location of the column, so we can respond to the call quickly.’

The council spends £681,500 on energy bills to run 23,833 lights in the city each year. But Colas – which signed a 25-year PFI contract with the council in 2004 – is in charge of maintaining the majority of them.

Councillor Donna Jones, shadow resources cabinet member, said: ‘The council needs to save money, but clearly this is a waste of money. Secondly, it is carbon management – this is using energy wastefully.’