Detroit utility repossessed street lights

by Jane Briggs-Bunting

Detroit is a city that is down and out though the struggle to revive it has energetic supporters in its Mayor, council and local media. The problems have seeped way beyond the boundaries of the city in cash-strapped, high unemployment Michigan, but nowhere more than in the city of Highland Park.

The city is entirely surrounded by Detroit. Beginning in August, the local utility company, DTE, started repossessing Highland Park’s street lights as a settlement for its $4M overdue electric bill, the result of almost a decade of partial payments. This leaves the small, blighted city’s 16,000 residents almost totally in the dark.

The utility has installed 200 lights along busy Woodward Avenue and is installing some in front of its beleaguered schools, as well, but virtually all of the neighborhoods are left in the dark.

The poles will be sold for scrap. The utility decided it was better to remove the poles than leave them up without power and no hope for power to be restored.

Detroit, which has its own utility company, is struggling with lighting, as well, with many neighborhoods often left in the dark.

It’s an unnerving example of how bad things have gotten in the most powerful nation on the planet.