A public school in Massachusetts, US, has had its lights on since August 2021 after a software failure that controls the building’s lighting system, which has about 7,000 lights. After a year and a half, no one could turn them off.
The lighting system installed at Minnecock Regional High School in Wilbraham Township was built more than a decade ago and is intended to save money and energy. But on Aug. 24, 2021, the software that controls it failed, leaving school lights in suburban Springfield with a little luck.
“We know this is going to cost taxpayers a significant amount of money,” Aaron Osborne, superintendent of financial aid for the Hampton-Wilbraham Regional School District, told NBC News. “And we are doing everything we can to resolve this issue.”
Energy costs fluctuate wildly during and after the pandemic, Osborne said, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly how much money is being spent on continuous lighting. “I would say the net impact is on average thousands of dollars a month,” Osborne said.
The financial assistant explained that the school uses highly efficient fluorescent and LED lighting. When possible, teachers manually remove light bulbs from classrooms, while staff turn off breakers not connected to the main system to turn off some outdoor lights.
In a letter to the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District last August, Wilbraham city councilors said keeping the lights on at school all the time would be a waste of taxpayer money.
“The film wastes time at a time when many families in the county’s serving communities are struggling with their own energy costs,” they wrote.
According to the school management, the issue will be resolved. Reflex Lighting Group president Paul Mustone said the parts needed to replace the lighting system have arrived from a factory in China and are expected to be installed by the school holidays in February.
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