EAST PROVIDENCE â€” The city's streets will be getting a little darker.
In an attempt to rein in spending, more than 1,000 excess street lights are being shut off beginning this month as part of the first phase of the city's streetlight management program adopted by the East Providence Budget Commission.
As a result of a field audit commissioned by the panel last year, 1,225 excess streetlights were identified for shut off with special consideration given to keeping streetlights on at intersections, pedestrian crossings and school and park areas.
A complete list of lights scheduled for shut off â€” by street and pole number â€” has been posted on the city's web site at www.eastprovidenceri.net.
According to Public Works Director Stephen Coutu, the city spends approximately $750,000 a year for the 5,030 streetlights located throughout the city. The streetlights are owned and maintained by National Grid and are billed to the city on a tariff rate approved by the state Public Utilities Commission.
Each streetlight has a facility and maintenance charge along with an electrical usage charge. Coutu say approximately 60 percent of the cost for each streetlight is attributed to the fixed facility and maintenance charge whether a light requires service or not.
The Budget Commission's objective is to save $150,000 in a five-year fiscal stability plan for the city, with emphasis on first removing lights in locations that exceed minimum lighting standards.
A budget commission is the second level of oversight that can be implemented by the state. The third level of oversight is that of a receiver. Since its first session in late December 2011, the budget commission has been meeting twice a week. The purpose of the Budget Commission is to initiate and assure the implementation of appropriate measures to secure the financial stability of the city.