City Desk

Proposed Streetlight Fee Will Cost You $51 a Year

The FY2010 budget proposal submitted by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty on Friday contained a number of fee hikes. Many of those are intended to fall on businesses, but there was one that will fall broadly on District residents: A "Street Light User Fee," intended to "cover the costs associated with the operation and maintenance of streetlights in the District."

Details of the fee have been reveled in draft legislation submitted to the council today: The fee will be assessed on your Pepco bills. Residential customers, under the proposal, will pay $4.25 a month ($51 a year); commercial customers will pay $16.75 monthly ($201 yearly), and all others $42 monthly ($504 yearly).

Now, the proposed legislation pumps all of this money into a separate streetlight fund to be held separate from the city's general operating fund—so there's little danger the city will use your streetlight money to, say, pay for potholes. Also, the language provides that low-income residents can get assistance paying the fee from the city energy assistance office.

The D.C. Council, of course, has to approve this. Don't like it? Call your home councilmember, and you might also drop a line to Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, who oversees the transportation department—(202) 724-8181.

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  • creativemeat

    Jesus, Pepco is already giving it to me up the butt.

  • tom veil

    I'll gladly pay for street lamps if, in return, the city will shut down all those idiotic street lights that are pointed up at the sky instead of downward, where all the people are. If Fenty wants to use street lights to send beacons to outer space, he can do that on his own dime.

  • tophersez

    Okay, I know all of the people who obsessively equate streetlights with safety may flip over this, but what about turning the streetlights OFF after, say, 2 a.m. on weeknights and 4 a.m. on weekends? Very few people are out walking then, and the the power savings for the city should more than pay for the amount we spend on maintenance for the lights. Not to mention reducing light polution so we might actually see more than two stars over the District at night. And I agree with tom veil; "historic globe lights" and others like them are so wasteful!

  • Fred

    Agree with Topher. And, don't put the lights ON until it is dark (if possible).

    And people, who was just talking about light pollution?

    Who? Who?


  • KCinDC

    So are we giving up on the idea of progressive income tax? I know DC doesn't have that progressive a rate schedule anyway, but instituting a flat fee for everyone seems like a new level of regressivity.

  • Skipper

    Bring back street lamps lit with whale blubber!

  • Bob Grow

    DC can save 50% in energy costs, taxpayer dollars and CO2 emissions by installing elergy efficient streetlights which allow for neighbornood lights to be dimmed individually or by city block...The same savings can be realized by switching to LED lamps. This should be part of the conversation...See web information above for details.


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  • ah

    I do not use my streetlight. I would like to have it shut off, and then not pay the proposed "user fee". Will this be possible?

    If someone who does use it (for example, so they can walk their dog who poops on my lawn) would like to pay for it, I have no objection to their doing so.

  • dd

    Less light = more crime

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  • Mike Licht

    Would blind Washingtonians have to pay the proposed Street Light User Fee?