Ireland's State-owned electricity company ESB has come for sharp criticism from public representative in Laois over delays in connecting new street lights to the power supply.
Delays running to weeks and months were put under the spotlight by Laois County Councillors at the Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District Meeting.
The response of Laois County Council to a public need for lights was contrasted to the ESB by Cllr James Kelly in Mountrath where he had called on the local authority to install lighting on Factory Street.
"I just want to thank the council for the rapid response," he said of the issue which he flagged with the local authority in October.
Cllr Kelly said two lights have since been erected on the street with another at another black spot on Shannon Road Mountrath.
"The lights are up but we we still have darkness because the space that it takes about 10 to 12 weeks to get the lights connected. I find this this delay disturbing," he said.
He asked if the reason for the delay could be ascertained.
Cllr Kelly's fellow Independent Cllr Ollie Clooney believes lights will be left unconnected for longer.
"It's worse than 12 weeks in my experience. I think it is unacceptable the delay the ESB is causing especially in winter. Having no street light annoys people" he said.
Cllr Clooney hoped the local authority could help to accelerate matters. While he felt some delay was acceptable he believes the uncomplicated connection process should not take as long as what is being experienced in communities who expect new lights to work within weeks.
"Surely it is not rocket science," he said at the November meeting.
Cllr John King, Fine Gael, agreed. He said the council and public at least deserve to be given timeframes and that a community should not have to wait up to eight months for lights to shine.
"It's important to have deadlines," he insisted.
The ESB said ESB Networks connections in relation to street lights – as with other electricity connections – generally require a lead-in time of 12 weeks. The company said these works are often expedited where possible.
It said its supervisors and manager are in liaison with Laois County Council and there are two pedestrian lighting connections outstanding and the council's electrical certification which was registered against this connections on November 17. These should be connected by early next week.
It said public lighting was connected in Durrow recently on schedule, and another public lighting job is scheduled to be connected in Ballybrittas on November 19.
The firm said it is awaiting a reply from its Roscrea office in relation to Mountrath.
ESB said it has no outstanding public lighting works in Portarlington adding that ESB Networks connected the Barrow Bridge Street lighting in Portarlington on schedule in 2020.
They added that there may have been a delay on the part of the contractor working on behalf of Laois and Offaly Co Councils to complete the necessary works to switch them on.
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