FLINT TWP. — For nearly two years, resident and business owner Kevin Stiff has come before the Board of Trustees twice a month to complain about street lighting in the community.
At the Sept. 17 meeting, Consumers Energy sent a representative to address the concerns of Stiff and other residents.
Kyle McCree, Community Affairs Manager with Consumers Energy, said the township has unmetered street lights, which is different than home or business electrical service where you have a meter on the side of the building.
“Meters regulate the power you use, street lights are unmetered, you pay a fee throughout year,” said McCree. “We don’t know if a street light is out unless you tell us. To install meters would be at the expense of township, you’d have one on each street light.”
Responsibility for maintenance, he said, would fall to the township through its Department of Public Works or by contracting out repairs.
Stiff, owner of the Dive Shop on Corunna Road, said he drove Corunna Road Sunday night and counted 15 street lights out going west to the Flint city limit and 14 out returning eastbound.
“We’re paying consumers $50,000 a year for lights not getting service for,” said Stiff. “That’s a lot of money.”
Resident Gerald Roberts said the amount of money the township pays for what he calls “inadequate service… is atrocious. It’s a disservice to the township to have this happen.”
McCree said there is a way for residents and business owners to report where street light outages are. He said anyone can go to consumersenergy.com/streetlightoutage. There the user will find a form where they can report an outage and will be given a notification number.
Directions, he said, need to be very specific. Addresses are the best way to inform Consumers Energy of an outage. McCree said residents can also contact the township with the information and they can track a reported outage and see if it’s fixed in the period of time allowed in the contract between the township and Consumers Energy. If the utility fails to fix a reported street light outage in a specific number of days, it owes the township a rebate for that light.
McCree said he would not advise residents to be out driving around looking for street light outages due to the potential safety risk of distracted driving. However, he said in the city of Flint some neighborhood watch groups have been working in groups to locate and identify street light outages and report them to Consumers Energy.
“Our goal is the township pays its bill and it receives the services it’s paying for,” said McCree. “We want world-class performance and hometown service.”