Letchworth residents foot the bill for public lighting
- Credit: Archant
Residents of a housing association have discovered that they have been charged for lighting a car park without knowing for the past 10 years.
James Woods and Andy Knight, who have lived in Cade Close, Letchworth GC, have found out that not only are they paying for their own electricity, but they are also paying for three public lights which service the two communal car parks and the front of the flats.
The error was only picked up when it was pointed out by an engineer installing new fuse boxes.
Mr Knight has worked out that it has been costing him an extra £13 per week in electricity which may have cost him as much as £6,000.
He said: “I have been paying £80 a month in electric when some in our area are only paying £25 and due to the high bills we got into arrears and were forced to go on a pre-payment meter. We then had to pay even more money to catch up on the arrears. I have now turned the fuse off from the public lights as I cannot afford to keep paying to keep them on, so the area is in complete darkness which is dangerous.”
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The lights come on automatically at dusk and switch off at dawn and residents normally pay for them as part of the management charge.
The housing association development of 50 flats is managed by Affinity Sutton.
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“Even though Affinity Sutton have been made aware of this issue and are investigating, they keep sending out an engineer to repair the light,” Mr Knight added. “This is costing even more money and wasting more time and resources.”
Other tenants are also believed to be affected. Their next door neighbour, Helen Astridge, has also just found out that she has been paying for the public stair lighting since 1996.
The company has now advised that it plans to reimburse any tenants involved and in the meantime have asked for the lights to be turned back on for health and safety reasons.
A spokesman for Affinity Sutton said: “We are in communication with the residents at Cade Close and our contractors are on site investigating this matter. If we find an issue, we will act quickly to resolve it and discuss compensation with the residents affected.”