Now second housing estate faces being left in the dark
MORE residents are set to be plunged into darkness after Electric Ireland threatened to cut off their street lighting unless an outstanding bill is paid.
Electric Ireland sent a letter to residents in Abbeyfield in Balitore, Co Kildare, in which it asked them to pay the bill. It warned that if they did not, street lighting would be cut off on March 10.
It is the second Kildare housing estate to be asked to foot a lighting bill after homeowners in Chambers Park in Kilcock in the north of the county had their power shut off last week.
Chairman of the residents' association, James Comerford, said that of a total 60 houses in the estate, at least 20 were either empty or still waiting to be fully built.
He said that if the street lights were shut off, it would increase the likelihood of robberies and make it difficult for elderly people walking in and out of the estate.
"We're afraid people will come to the empty houses and break into them in the dark, and maybe even burn down some of them. Some of them have been broken into before," Mr Comerford told the Irish Independent.
He explained that because the housing estate is only partially built, the second course of tar has not been laid on the ground, which means the footpaths are higher than normal and could present a danger to elderly people at night.
Mr Comerford said: "We've some elderly people, and they could fall off the steps just walking to the shop or the post office in the dark. If you stand in a field in the middle of the country in the dark, that's what it'll be like."
He said that Mazers, which had been appointed receivers after builders Barrick Homes went into liquidation, had declined to pay the bill, which he claimed was at least €7,000.
A spokesperson from Kildare County Council said it had been informed by Electric Ireland of its intention to cut off the power supply, but said that it was still not in charge of the estate.
The spokesperson added: "We do understand there has been some communication between the receiver and Electric Ireland.
"There's a possibility that the cut-off date has been pushed back to allow for further negotiations."
Spokespersons from both Electric Ireland and Mazers refused to discuss details of the negotiations when contacted by the Irish Independent.