Post-bankruptcy, Detroiters asked to pay for public lighting

Costs would increase bill by $13 per month

DETROIT – There are 63,000 updated LED lights brightening up Detroit, courtesy of the city's Public Lighting Authority.

What hasn't been touched are the more than 10,000 public lights used in alleyways throughout the city, and neighbors are getting an expensive surprise when they call to report an outage.

PLA will not fix or replace them. The city was always responsible for fixing the lights in the past but post-Detroit bankruptcy, not anymore.

Now, Detroiters are told to call DTE for a fix, and get sticker shock.

One elderly woman on Sorrento was told if the public light in the alley near her house was to be fixed, it would require $13 a month on top of her regular bill for the next five years. That's $780.

Neighbors are outraged. "I think it's ridiculous my elderly neighbor isn't able to be comfortable in her home that she's probably lived in for decades," neighbor Benjamin Thomas told us.

DTE, for its part, is aware of the sticker shock that accompanies the installation of brand new lighting. "We understand that this is a service that Detroit residents used to receive free of charge prior to the city's bankruptcy and we are working with the PLA to find an equitable solution for our customers," DTE's Randi K. Berries told us.

For now, that light remains out on Sorrento while a fix is worked out.

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