Detroit Public Lighting Department to be phased out, Emergency Manager Orr tells DTE Energy

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The city of Detroit's Public Lighting Department will be phased out and shut down over the next several years. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has notified DTE Energy who will provide service in the future.

The Public Lighting Department has been responsible for powering many of Detroit's municipal buildings as well as public schools, Wayne State University, Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Hall and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

In all, the city's lighting department has provided electricity to 1,400 sites. The electrical system has been criticized for its age and lack of updates. The city's often-unlit streetlights have been cited as a safety issue for years by residents.

A release issued by the Emergency Manager's office says, "The electric system has been a significant financial burden for Detroit, operating at an average annual loss of approximately $150 million over the past five years."

Today's statement estimated that it will take five to seven years to fully wind down the Detroit Public Lighting Department.

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