In early September, Electric Ireland disconnected power to all the public lighting in Carraig Midhe, located 4km from Limerick City, as multiple bills had gone unpaid.
According to local Councillor, Cathal Crowe: “The shut-off led to officials of Clare County Council’s Planning Department holding urgent negotiations with Electric Ireland. This had a successful short-term outcome with an agreement being reached to restore electricity within a 24 hour period. There still however remained a degree of long-term uncertainty as to who would pay the Electric Ireland bills going forward.”
“Over the last number of weeks I have been in constant contact with the Council’s Planning Department and have now had it confirmed to me that “Clare Co. Council has accepted future responsibility for the supply & maintenance of the public lighting within the development” and that “any threat to the future public lighting supply has been averted”.
“I have since been in contact with representatives of the Carraig Midhe Residents’ Association and a list of all street lights which are malfunctioning or out-of-order has been submitted to Airtricity. It is anticipated that all of the street lights will be fully repaired within the next 2 to 3 weeks.”
“I am very pleased with the outcome to this long-running fiasco – the majority of Carraig Midhe residents have paid their Local Property Tax and have every right to expect a decent level of service provision. The efforts of the Council’s staff to bring about a swift and positive resolution should also be highly commended,” added Cllr. Crowe.
A spokesperson for the local authority said: “The Council has been working on addressing issues in a number of developments throughout the county where there is a threat to cut of public lighting. Carrig Midhe is one such development where public lighting was cut off some weeks ago but restored on a temporary basis. The development is subject to a receivership and the Council is in detailed discussions with the receiver and bondholder. Investigative surveys are currently being completed by agents on behalf of the bondholders to validate the claim on the bond by the Council. As part of the overall process to bring issues to a conclusion the Council has agreed to take responsibility for the public lighting account on the basis that the costs arising are a first call on the bond. The Council’s responsibility at this time only extends to securing supply and routine maintenance to the public lighting network. There is considerable work to be done to bring this development to a standard where the Council can formally consider taking it in charge. The Council will continue to pursue issues to achieve this objective.”