Neighbors worry about being left in the dark after FPL plans to shut off street lights

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Some Palm Beach Gardens homeowners will soon be left in the dark.

Florida Power and Light is being forced to shut off street lights for now, after a power bill has gone unpaid for too long.

Residents of the A Place in the Woods neighborhood are concerned about their safety.

Jaime Whalen's says the neighborhood has been perfect for her family. "It's just a great family street. It's awesome. The kids all get to play," Whalen described.

But now, Whalen worries that play time will soon be cut short, when street lights no longer light up the neighborhood at night.

"It stinks for the kids, We have to lock them in the house after six because it's going to be so dark out at night you're not going to be able to see anything," Whalen said.

Whalen and her neighbors received a letter from FPL on Monday, stating that the street lights will be shut off on Oct. 22 because the former Home Owner's Association did not pay the bill.

Neighbors say the HOA fizzled out years ago. But it's contract with FPL still requires HOA representatives to pay for the lighting, according to an FPL spokesperson.

In a statement, FPL officials said ,"We've reached out to this Homeowner's Association representation, but they have been non responsive. Disconnection of streetlight service is clearly a last resort for FPL."

Now neighbors worry about their safety.

"We can't see, you know. We have to carry flash lights around. That's ridiculous," said Whalen.

Neighbor David Dodds agrees. "It's going to be easier to break into someone's house, grab someone's kid or dog, or whatever," Dodds said.

Dodds says he will be making lighting adjustments to his house, by adding landscape lighting or lighting on the home.

"Ive already been online looking to buy my own street poe," Dodds said.

Officials with FPL say the lights can be turned back on once a payment is made.

They will not confirm how much money is owed. Neighbors assume it's thousands of dollars, however, which they cannot afford.
 

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