Residents in the dark as street lights turned off in bill dispute
RESIDENTS have been left in the dark after street lighting was turned off without warning in a row over an unpaid bill.
Homeowners in Chambers Park in Kilcock, Co Kildare, have been forced to stay indoors after dark since last week after ESB Electric Ireland cut off supply because of an unpaid €25,000 power bill for lighting.
Chairman of the residents' association, Pat McGarry, also said power had been turned off to a sewerage pumping station serving 40 houses, and residents are worried it might lead to health issues.
"The lights and sewerage pumping station are turned off since last Thursday," he said.
"There's a serious impact on people. The fact the pumping station is not powered on means there's 40 houses without a working sewerage system."
A total of 311 houses and apartments are in the development, with 16 owned by Kildare County Council.
The homes were built by Glenford Construction (Kilcock) Limited, which entered into receivership in November 2010. It has since been struck off. It is not clear who was responsible for the unpaid bill.
The ESB said it had made repeated attempts to contact residents and the local council over the unpaid bill, including writing last January.
The last payment it received from Glenford was on April 2, 2009, it said, adding that ESB Electric Ireland was notified in October 2010 that KPMG were appointed as receivers to the company, while in August last year it was told a liquidator was in place.
On January 24 last, Kildare County Council said it would not take responsibility for the payment of bills for the public lighting and pumping station.
"Electric Ireland formally wrote to the residents association and to Kildare County Council requesting one of them to take over responsibility for paying future electricity bills," it said in a statement.
It added that both parties were informed "that the electricity supply would be withdrawn after February 16" if nobody registered with Electric Ireland and placed the bill in their name.
Kildare County Council said it was "making arrangements" to have power restored.