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‘Always-On’ Streetlights A Turn-Off For West LA Residents

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David_Goldstein_08062010 David Goldstein
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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — West Los Angeles residents said they’re outraged that streetlights in their neighborhood have been switched on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Patricia Sobel, 82, said she found out about the “wasted electricity” about a month ago on her daily two-mile walk.

“I guess I’m a concerned citizen, and I think of the waste of taxpayer dollars and terrible waste of energy,” she said.

Sobel told CBS2 investigative reporter David Goldstein she came up with a cheeky new phrase about the situation.

“Onage…as opposed to outage. Onage. I think I coined a new word,” she said.

Goldstein discovered 224 streetlights that were left on during the day in an area bordered by Santa Monica Boulevard to the north, Beverly Glen to the east, Pico Boulevard to the south and Overland to the west.

A week ago, Sobel’s neighbor, “Roz,” also noticed something strange with the lights on her block.

“They have been off at night and on during the day,” she said. “I’m upset because it’s a waste of electricity. I went to solar power to save electricity, and I’m seeing this waste go on. Especially when the city needs to use money in different ways. I don’t understand why the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power can’t take this and fix it.”

For both women, it’s not just the wasted taxpayer money that bothered them, but the wasted time they spent reporting it to DWP and the city.

Sobel said she called DWP and didn’t get anywhere. She said she finally visited her local DWP office, where a manager told her to call her councilman.

“I hear about rate raises, I hear about salary increases, and you go to address a problem and they couldn’t be less interested. This woman couldn’t care less,” she said. “Obviously she wasn’t going to do anything and that really infuriated me.”

A DWP spokesperson told Goldstein the lights can only be on or off because a circuit blew out due to a windstorm last month. The company decided to intentionally leave the streetlights on instead of having it dark at night.

The so-called “onage” won’t be fixed for at least another two weeks.

“I think it’s a terrible waste of electricity,” said Roz.

DWP said they would not be charging the city while the lights were malfunctioning.

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