An anonymous reader quotes a report from NBC News: For nearly a year and a half, a Massachusetts high school has been lit up around the clock because the district can’t turn off the roughly 7,000 lights in the sprawling building. The lighting system was installed at Minnechaug Regional High School when it was built over a decade ago and was intended to save money and energy. But ever since the software that runs it failed on Aug. 24, 2021, the lights in the Springfield suburbs school have been on continuously, costing taxpayers a small fortune.
“We are very much aware this is costing taxpayers a significant amount of money,” Aaron Osborne, the assistant superintendent of finance at the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District, told NBC News. “And we have been doing everything we can to get this problem solved.” Osborne said it’s difficult to say how much money it’s costing because during the pandemic and in its aftermath, energy costs have fluctuated wildly. “I would say the net impact is in the thousands of dollars per month on average, but not in the tens of thousands,” Osborne said. That, in part, is because the high school uses highly efficient fluorescent and LED bulbs, he said. And, when possible, teachers have manually removed bulbs from fixtures in classrooms while staffers have shut off breakers not connected to the main system to douse some of the exterior lights.
But there’s hope on the horizon that the lights at Minnechaug will soon be dimmed. Paul Mustone, president of the Reflex Lighting Group, said the parts they need to replace the system at the school have finally arrived from the factory in China and they expect to do the installation over the February break. “And yes, there will be a remote override switch so this won’t happen again,” said Mustone, whose company has been in business for more than 40 years.