Homeowners on Ballycraigy Ring are failing to see the bright side after nearly 100 streetlights were left switched on for 24 hours a day.
The problem began on Wednesday August 13, and the 97 lights in the Ballycraigy Road and Antiville areas have now been continuously illuminated for nearly two weeks.
However, it appears that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for residents, as the Times has learned that the DRD has suspended the contractors who would normally repair the lights, due to budget cuts.
Concerned Craigy Hill resident Sam Wilson told the Times: “I have contacted the council and they said that it wasn’t anything to do with them.
“I went to the DRD and they said there was no money available. The next thing is we will be paying this off on the rate bill. What a waste of money when times are hard!
“If normal people were to put their lights on at home 24/7 they would have an extraordinary bill. This is political, as departments are saying they have no money and are going to have to make cuts. This is the start of it: next thing there will be no grass cutting and then it will be the bin emptying. I want to highlight this now, as it is going to get a lot worse.”
A spokesperson for the Department for Regional Development said: “Following the recent announcement on June monitoring the Department is facing a significant budget shortfall.
“As part of a number of essential cost-saving measures it has been necessary to suspend the use of external contractors for the repair of street lights that fail, unless they pose an electrical hazard to members of the public.
“In relation to faulty street lights that remain on, often this type of fault presents engineers with a choice to either leave the lights permanently switched on or off until permanent repairs can be made.
“The Department is always mindful to prevent waste of electricity, however, there is no additional cost to taxpayers for day-burning street lights, since the cost to power all the street lights across Northern Ireland is set so as to allow for such operational fluctuations.
“While we would normally strive to rectify this as soon as possible, faulty street lights which are permanently lit do at least provide benefits for residents and road users after dark, rather than none at all.”