HIGHLAND PARK, Mich., Oct. 11 (UPI) — Failure to pay a multimillion-dollar utility bill has left the town of Highland Park, Mich., without street lights, officials said.
Most of the small city’s street lights have been repossessed by crews from DTE Energy as part of a settlement that allowed the city to avoid paying $4 million in unpaid bills, The Detroit News reported Tuesday.
To date, DTE Energy crews have removed some 1,400 light poles from Highland Park, a longtime financially ailing community virtually surrounded by Detroit with fewer than 12,000 residents whose average household income was under $18,000 a year, based on 2000 Census figures.
When the work is completed at the end of the month, 200 newer model lights will sit on street corners but most city neighborhoods will remain in the dark.
DTE spokesman Len Singer called Highland Park “a unique situation.”
“We did everything we could to try to help the city come to a level of service they could manage,” Singer said. “They simply weren’t able to maintain the costs for having all the previous lights.”
With the new lights, Highland Park will be able to reduce its monthly utility bill from $62,000 to $15,000.