Street lighting is an issue where Powys is ahead of the game - albeit that so far the Council does not seem to have played the ball particularly skillfully. I'm running a series of posts on the subject, because the issues have a universal application, from both a financial and environmental standpoint. Let's recap. To save money, the Council decided to turn off 67% of its street lights, with little effective consultation with the communities affected. All hell broke loose. There have been thousands of complaints. Currently, Council employees are putting many of these lights back on, often on a part-night basis, and after discussion with local councillors. I'm told that an acceptable solution is being arrived at in most cases. Last night, most of the lights in Llanfyllin were turned back on - to widespread local approval. At the very least, its an improvement.
But there remain some outstanding questions which require answers. One of them concerns the process which led to the decision to turn the lights off in the first place. I'm told that since Gordon Brown established the OGM (Office of Government Commerce) , as a division of the Treasury a few years ago, to negotiate the tariff public bodies pay for electricity, the Council has been paying what seems a very high price. Another issue is why the tariff charged to a local school is higher than local domestic and business users are paying. People are wondering if anyone has been 'ripping off' anyone else here.
And then there's the issue of Light Emitting Diode (LED) arrays. I'm told that Council employees have been advocating serious consideration of this option for a while, and that the Council in running a trial somewhere in the county. I'm also told that there are issues regarding insurance which are proving difficult to resolve. (Don't ask - yet). Anyway, I've just arranged a meeting with 'the men who know' at Powys County Council on 26th January - after which I expect to write my next post on this issue. Hope that greater illumination is flooding down upon those of you who care a fig about street lighting.