Street Lights

WHY DON’T ALL THE STREELIGHTS WORK?

Reply from Silvana Buxton Councillor for Camposol and International Relations

This is one of the most common queries received by the Council from Camposol and after talking to Council and Iberbrola technicians, the Council Services and Contracting departments I have found that the solution is not as simple as flicking a switch.

It is common knowledge that the infrastructure of the public street lighting in Camposol is a major problem, but the extent of the problem became apparent only after the current Council took control of the Mazarrón municipality in June 2019 and began an investigation into finding a legal and permanent solution to address the physical problem of missing or failed and obsolete components as well as complying with the legal, contractual and licencing situations to prevent future complications.

Camposol has suffered from street lighting problems from its very conception and these have intensified as each sector was constructed. It was also exacerbated by the developer Grupo MASA’s delinquency in not paying the main electrical contractor responsible for installing the lighting infrastructure, this resulted in the contractor eventually abandoning the site leaving many circuits without cable or other equipment and components.

Further complications arose in mid/late 2013 when Grupo MASA stopped paying Iberdrola for the electricity supply, as a result Iberdrola started disconnecting lighting control boxes and some residents resorted to self-help short cutting circuits or operating the switch gear manually.

In late 2014 the then Council took over circuit contracts and commissioned an electrical contractor to carry out the essential repairs, work started to bring the lighting circuits up to current specifications and replacing equipment that had never been installed, been tampered with or stolen.

However, following the 2015 election the incoming Council cancelled the contract with the electrical contractor and ceased processing documentation with the Regional Authority and with Iberdrola, this resulted in the urbanisation being left with a hotch-potch of additional problems, some circuits are not up to current specifications or there is no documentation to facilitate legal use some are awaiting Iberdrola ratification and some are still under temporary ‘Builder’s supply’ contracts which should have been closed after two years, although some have been fully processed and are in use. Furthermore, Iberdrola now have remote metering systems which identify any excess or fraudulent use of electricity resulting in disconnection of the electricity supply.

The problems caused by 4 further years of neglect and irreversible deterioration through lack of maintenance became the concern of the current Council who are taking steps to correct and legalise the public lighting infrastructure as far as budget constraints and COVID related expenditures will allow. In the meantime however work on circuits not legally registered cannot be carried out.

To progress any work a project has to be drawn up by an engineer and architect, then sent to the Trade and Industry Department of the Regional Government for approval and then to Iberdrola to be licenced and contracted, after which work can begin, a process which takes several months’ even if there are no anomalies.

Currently technicians are surveying the principal route through C and D Sectors to draw up a project starting the process which ultimately will attain a legally usable street lighting infrastructure. Failure to follow the legal procedure will result in any unaccountable use of electricity being isolated and disconnected by Iberdrola.