Mass. School Hasn't Been Able To Turn Off Lights For Over A Year

By Jason Hall

January 19, 2023

Science Classroom
Photo: Getty Images

A Massachusetts high school has had its lights stuck on for more than a year.

Software for the lighting system installed at Minnechaug Regional High School failed on August 24, 2021 and no one has been able to turn off the estimated 7,000 lights inside the building since, NBC News reports.

The system was installed more than a decade ago and intended to save money and energy, but has now cost taxpayers "a significant amount of money," according to Aaron Osborne, the assistant superintendent of finance at the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District.

“I would say the net impact is in the thousands of dollars per month on average, but not in the tens of thousands,” Osborne said told NBC News, claiming that the district was "doing everything we can to get this problem solved."

The rising costs is largely due to the school using highly efficient fluorescent and LED bulbs. At times, teachers have manually removed some of the bulbs from fixtures in classrooms after staffers shut off breakers that aren't connected to the main system.

But the school's issue has led to a crucial waste in taxpayer money, as noted by Wilbraham's town selectmen in a letter to members of the school district on August 8, 2022.

“The image it projects is one of profligacy in a time when many families in the communities the District serves are struggling with their own energy costs,” they wrote.

There is, however, some good news.

Paul Mustone, president of the Reflex Lighting Group, said the school has finally received parts needed to replace the outdated system sent from a factory in China and the issue is expected to be solved during February break.

“And yes, there will be a remote override switch so this won’t happen again,” Mustone said via NBC News.

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