Residents fed up after stair lights left on for months

Rachel Plummer with daughter Audrey
Rachel Plummer with daughter Audrey
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COMMUNAL lighting within six blocks of flats has been “blazing 24/7” for two months, sparking concerns that energy and money are being needlessly wasted.

Residents living in two-storey blocks of maisonettes in Oxgangs Drive said the balcony lighting and lights in the communal stair had been permanently switched on since November.

The lights are usually set to a timer, coming on early in the morning and again in the evening when it starts to get dark.

It is the latest problem for residents in the area after dozens of council tenants on Oxgangs Road and Oxgangs House were left without showers for four months after an “upgrade” of their homes.

Mother-of-one Rachel Plummer, 28, who lives in Oxgangs Drive, said the non-stop lighting was “a waste of money and energy”, and urged the city council to put the lights back on a timer as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, resident David Atkinson, 37, a chef, said: “I moved in on November 22 and the lights have been on since then.

“I’m not sure who will pay the bill – the council or residents – but I hope it doesn’t cost me money when I’m not using the lights.

Scores of residents have been affected by the problem.

Colinton/Fairmilehead councillor Jason Rust, who represents Oxgangs, said: “A number of my constituents have been in touch. There seems to be issue after issue where the council and public utility suppliers are supposedly working together.”

Several street lights in the area have also been switched on throughout the day and night, with residents calling for the problem to be resolved.

Last August, the Evening News told how 40 properties in Oxgangs Road and Oxgangs House had showers installed in April 2012 as part of a bathroom and kitchen upgrade, with council tenants subsequently unable to use their showers for four months.

Residents had been advised at the time that it could take a few weeks to upgrade the power supply so the showers could be used.

The city council said the communal lights should be operating on a timer again next week.

A spokeswoman added that stair lighting installations listed on the council Stair Lighting Maintenance Register were connected to an unmetered electricity supply, with agreement between the council and Scottish Power, and electricity consumption charges charged to the council and not individual residents.

Councillor Cammy Day, the city’s housing leader, said: “Whilst planned mains renewal works were being carried out in the area, the council installed a temporary connection to ensure that stairwell lighting on Oxgangs Drive would continue to be supplied with power. This connection does not allow the lights to be controlled by a timer and the view was taken that, for health and safety reasons, it was better to keep the lights on than off.

“Alteration work to reinstate the stair lighting to normal operation will begin