ST PAUL, Minn. — When a St. Paul resident noticed street lights were out on her block, she notified St. Paul Public Works of the problem.
That was on Saturday.
She updated Twitter with photos of her dark street as days went by, and the lights were not fixed. Wednesday, however, she tweeted this:
"And on the fifth day of the #stpaul #streetlightshutdown, @stpaulpublicw said, 'Let there be light.' And there was light. And it was very good."
St. Paul Public Works confirms the woman's account of how long it took is true. A spokesperson says the lights were out because someone cut the wires.
It's happening in other areas of the city as well. In fact, last year, there were 20 areas where wires were not just damaged but also stolen.
Evidently, people want copper. But is it worth it?
According to MacroTrends, right now, copper is worth $2.67 per pound. It takes a lot of wire to comprise a pound.
Meanwhile, St. Paul Public Works says the price tag for last year's repairs is estimated at more than $170,000. Just one light can cost tens of thousands of dollars. The speed at which crews can repair them depends on the type of pole and how damaged it is. It also depends on ground temperature.
The bottom line? If lights are out on your street, report it by contacting your local public works department. Know that crews might not get there right away because right now the ground is frozen, and they can't work on the conduits until the ground warms up.
If you notice someone tinkering with a street light, check to see if there is a city vehicle nearby. If there isn't, call police immediately.
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