Huntington Beach Claims SoCal Edison Pockets Millions Set Aside for Street Light Repairs

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Huntington Beach is among eight Southern California cities that have formed the Coalition for Affordable Street Lights, which accuses Southern California Edison of pocketing millions in taxpayer money set aside for light pole maintenance and replacement.

The coalition--which also includes Torrance, Downey, Upland and Rancho Cucamonga--claims each city collects millions of dollars annually in assessments for street light replacement and repair that are handed over to the region's largest public utility, which in turn does little if anything to fix or change out damaged poles.

"They're collecting all this money and look at our infrastructure--it's horrible," Rob Beste, public works director in Torrance, tells the Daily Breeze's Nick Green. "Torrance doesn't believe it's getting value for money for what we are paying. Where is all the money going?"

Huge shareholder dividends. CEO compensation packages in the tens of millions of dollars. Weekend retreats with booze and strippers who . . . oh, wait, Beste was being rhetorical. 

He reportedly laid it out for the state Public Utilities Commission recently: Torrance property owners alone contribute about $1.3 million annually via assessments from single-family homeowners who pay $20.50 a month, while the city kicks in another $1.8 million yearly from its operating budget. But two lighting surveys from 2010 found that almost 4 percent of the nearly 10,600 Edison-owned and -operated streetlights in town weren't functioning. Worse, many pose safety hazards.

Edison responds it is working with the coalition cities to resolve the concerns. In the meantime, the utility is seeking five percent increases annually to the street light repair and replacement fund. Three guesses on who those costs are going to be passed on to, and the first two don't count.

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3 comments
carbonware
carbonware

Having lived in the SOuth and Mid west the last few years I have grown to like the lack of street lights in many neighborhoods. I always complained growing up in HB about the lights shining into the windows at night and when they are spaced wrong cause your eyes to constantly adjust to bright and dim areas. In the parts of the country that do not install street lights they have no more crime but the areas all have a more natural feel, you can see all the stars at night, and there is no measurable safety deference. 

It's mostly just light pollution and wasted energy, it may take a little getting used to for many but going ala natural is far better for the environment and our wallets.

guest
guest

Why about solar street lamps?  If Edison is ripping everyone off, it's time to make the switch.

Cbksk
Cbksk

solar streetlights aren't cost effective.  They require batteries which require replacement every 5 years and are an additional cost.

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