30 Casco streetlights to go dark

THIS STREETLIGHT in Casco Village is slated for removal as early as this week. (De Busk Photo)

THIS STREETLIGHT in Casco Village is slated for removal as early as this week. (De Busk Photo)

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — Turn out the lights and lower the electric bill.

The Casco Board of Selectmen recently approved the removal of 30 streetlights throughout sections of town.

Each of those streetlights has a notice attached to the utility pole, providing people with a way to contact Central Maine Power (CMP) should they want to “adopt” the streetlight.

According to the notice, CMP crews will begin getting rid of the lights anytime between this week and Monday, Aug. 11.

The notice was posted on June 30, and CMP’s discontinuation of the service was scheduled for 30 to 45 days later.

The total savings to the town budget should be between $4,000 and $5,000, according to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton.

Narrowing down which streetlights will be removed was a long process that began about two years ago, he said. At the time, a five-member Energy Committee was tasked with deciding which streetlights were needed and which of those were either duplicated lighting or were illuminating only one or two households.

Some of the streetlights were installed in the 1960s as part of nationwide beautification projects promoted by former First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson.

A few years ago, the Energy Committee began taking an inventory of the town’s streetlights. The residents who were involved in this task included Peg Dilley, Mary-Vienessa Fernandes, Grant Plummer, Lynne Potter and Barbara York.

On Tuesday evening, York recalled pairing up with Fernandes to get a closeup view of the town’s streetlights.

“Mary and I chose different sections to do. I would drive, and Mary would jump out and locate the light. We found one streetlight in the woods,” York said.

As a group, the Energy Committee surveyed every streetlight in town to determine which ones were no longer necessary.

“Basically, the roads have changed. There were a few roads that run parallel to Route 302 — old roads that are not used by as many people as in the past,” she said. One short stretch of road that connects to Quaker Ridge Road is no longer a commonly-traveled road in South Casco.

“They might be serving one person, but those aren’t the ones we need,” she said. “If it is on your property and you want the opportunity to pay the light bill, you can contact CMP,” York said.

“I think that the Village had the most in one small area. In the village, there were six or eight lights” that were redundant, York said.

“We suggested the ones that we felt could come offline,” she said.

Then, as road commissioner, Morton double-checked the list to make sure the removal would not a public safety hazard for drivers.

So far, there has not been a huge uproar over the scheduled streetlight removal, Morton said.

“I’ve had a couple of people express concerns. One person has elected to adopt a streetlight. I am aware of one person who is doing that. A few others have objected to the lights being removed,” Morton said.

Anyone who would like to adopt a streetlight, essentially assuming responsibility for the electric bill, can contact via mail: Suzanne Bussiere; Key Accounts; 740 Main Street; Lewiston, ME, 04020. Residents can also call, (207) 753-3121, or e-mail Suzanne.bussiere@cmpco.com 

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