Bright idea? US school stuck with lights on since 2021

1 year ago 46

WASHINGTON - Hardly setting a climate-conscious example for students, one US high school has been stuck with its 7,000 lights on day and night for a year and a half – and no one can turn them off.

Since a computer glitch in August 2021, it has been impossible to shut down the lighting system at Minnechaug Regional High School in Massachusetts, although the end of the tunnel may finally be in sight.

“We are very much aware this is costing taxpayers a significant amount of money,” Mr Aaron Osborne, a regional school finance official told NBC News, estimating that the blunder was costing thousands of dollars a month.

“We have been doing everything we can to get this problem solved,” he said.

The school’s student newspaper reported that a key computer server could not be fixed, and repairs were thwarted as the company that installed the new system in 2012 changed hands several times.

Global supply chain issues also delayed efforts to get necessary parts.

The first-world problem caught the attention of the satirical Saturday Night Live television show.

“The students are doing fine but the classroom hamster has gone insane,” joked the show’s host.

NBC News said teachers manually removed some bulbs from fixtures in some classrooms in an effort to reduce wasteful consumption.

Replacement parts have finally arrived, and a “software transition” is scheduled for February. But turning off the lights will come at a hefty price. Officials say it will cost between US$75,000 (S$98,603) and US$80,000 to replace the server and lighting. AFP

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