Omaha neighbors concerned with lengthy street light repair

For weeks residents living along a midtown Omaha street have been nervous to go outside at night.
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 10:47 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For weeks residents living along a midtown Omaha street have been nervous to go outside at night.

They claim Omaha Public Power District has left them too long in the dark.

Walking from the front porch to the sidewalk near 34th and Hawthorne, two neighbors disappear into the darkness and that’s why they’ve lit into OPPD.

“I think I am more angry than anything else because it should not take this long to fix the street lights,” homeowner Judy Alderman said.

OPPD got the first report June 22 for about four street lights out on one block. But ratepayers say it’s been dark along their street for more than two months.

“I don’t come out much at night but if I would, I wouldn’t feel safe,” homeowner Darryll Lewis said.

Darryll is concerned about people and property. He says about two weeks ago he parked underneath a street light that’s not working and vandals took advantage.

Darryll’s car got broken into in an unsuccessful attempt to steal it.

“It would allow my security camera to capture the identities of the people but because it was so dark, I could only get silhouettes.”

After dark, a houseguest stays close to home.

“First I tried to get focused to see what’s out there somebody could be standing right there and I wouldn’t be able to see them,’ Richard Bias said.

OPPD says the cluster outage has been a priority, but it hit during a perfect storm of hot summer demand elsewhere and crew shortages due to COVID. Plus, it’s not an easy fix.

“This one takes more than just troubleshooting a single light that’s out,” Wyndle Young with OPPD said. “We have to fix underground cable, that requires boring crews, cable so this was more of a complex outage.”

After 6 News contacted OPPD, Judy Alderman took photos of an electrical subcontractor working on the street lights.

After two months or more Judy and neighbors should see brighter nights ahead and not just rely on what comes naturally.

OPPD doesn’t have remote monitors on city street lights. So, if one or more goes out it’s up to the public to report the outages as soon as possible.

In an update around 10:26 p.m. Monday, the streetlights are back on along 34th Street.

SOYS sheds light
SOYS sheds light(PHOTO: Mike McKnight WOWT)