NEW ORLEANS - Would you pay up to $70 a month for your own personal streetlight? Hundreds of Entergy customers in New Orleans are doing just that.
But, some taxpayers say they shouldn't have to pay more for a service the city should provide.
Keith Vetter often finds himself in the dark when he walks his dog in the Carrollton area. On Sycamore Street, one light has been out for months.
“Sometimes they go out and takes a while to get replaced,” said Vetter.
That's why Vetter is considering paying a monthly fee to have a security light installed outside his home.
“Well, I'd just like to have more light right around my house, on the street that I live on,” he said.
Through its security light program, Entergy installs and maintains lights on Entergy poles outside homes and businesses. It costs anywhere from $11 to $70 a month, depending on the type of light a customer chooses. The fee is added onto the monthly bill.
An Entergy spokesman said the company has installed over 6,000 security lights in New Orleans alone, and that number is growing.
The program has been underway for several decades, but there has been a marketing push in recent years. A spokesman said there are over 530,000 security lights installed across its four state coverage area.
“In the last couple years we had really just kind of an uptick in requests,” said Entergy spokesman Philip Allison.
Businesses like Cuz Car Wash in Gentilly opted to install one of the lights.
Managers said it's meant to supplement nearby streetlights, which do work.
“We had no light except for the streetlight, and it really wasn't that bright,” said manager Augusta Rouzan. “We really needed that light. It gave us light as far as seeing what we were doing, who was around us.”
But with over 6,000 streetlights out across the city, some neighbors believe they shouldn't feel the need to pay more when their tax dollars should provide for adequate lighting.
“Maybe if you live in a secluded area or something and you want extra light, fine. But since the light is already there, I don't think we need to be paying anything extra for that, we already pay enough,” said Alice Martin, who lives in front of the broken streetlight on Sycamore.
“The city does provide streetlights in New Orleans, obviously. This is just an extra service, people may want a light strictly on their house whereas streetlights are focused more on the streets and the sidewalks,” said Allison.
Meanwhile, the city said it's working tirelessly to fix every streetlight in New Orleans, while those like Vetter say that may not happen soon enough.
A spokesman said the city has repaired nearly 8,000 lights since Hurricane Isaac.
2,000 streetlight repairs are currently in progress, with maintenance crews working six days a week, 13 hours a day.
“We continue to work with Entergy and the City Council on a sustainable funding solution for streetlight repairs,” said city spokesman Ryan Berni in a statement.
"Entergy's security lights are actually designed to enhance visibility even in areas where streetlights are functioning. So, security lighting is not a substitute for streetlights, but can be used to deter crime," said LaToya Cantrell, District B councilwoman, in a statement.
This story was developed with our partner at The Uptown Messenger.