Buffalo receiving utility rebate for non-working street lights

Mar 30, 2016

Buffalo has been issued a $1 million rebate on its street light payments to National Grid, the latest stage in a fight that has been going on for several years.

City Comptroller Mark Schroeder says better technology would help better track what city lights are in working order.
Credit WBFO News File Photo

The city had been claiming that it was being billed for lights that weren't working. Consultant Troy & Banks was hired to check every single light in the city to see if the lights were on and then the city put in for millions in rebates.

Comptroller Mark Schroeder says the problem is a lack of technology to keep track of which lights are on.
"There were times when I heard that the lights were all off on the Skyway or the lights were all off on the expressway," Schroeder said.

Schroeder says non-working lights are a public safety issue. He says the city still has a series of complaints about past dead street lights and he's is expecting potentially millions of dollars more in rebates.

At the same time, he says there has to be a better way to operate in the future. Schroeder says he wants legal changes for more lighting audits.

"We will not allow this to happen again. We are going to figure out a way to prevent this from happening, going forward. I am delighted that National Grid has repaid the citizens of Buffalo nearly $1 million. That's only one claim out of approximately 15," he added.