East Nashville streetlights fixed after neighbor asks WSMV4 Investigates for help

Resident reported streetlights were out in his neighborhood in April and May, but NES didn’t respond until WSMV4 Investigates reached out.
Resident reported streetlights were out in his neighborhood in April and May, but NES didn’t respond until WSMV4 Investigates reached out.
Published: Jun. 13, 2023 at 5:21 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 13, 2023 at 8:18 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Living for nearly a decade in the Holiday Mobile Home Village in East Nashville, Charles Roberts said he enjoys taking evening walks with his son.

But about five months ago, Roberts said he began cutting back on trips outside his home after sundown because several lights in his neighborhood went out.

“You don’t feel totally safe out here because when it goes dark, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Roberts said. “I do worry about getting attacked or someone breaking into my car or mobile home.”

Calling the malfunctioning lights a “security issue,” Roberts said he went on the Nashville Electric Service website and filled out an email form reporting the streetlight issue in April, and then again in May. But two months later, Roberts said NES never contacted him and the lights in his neighborhood still didn’t work.

“This is the only light flickering,” Roberts said, pointing to a streetlight right outside his home. “The rest of them are plum out,” he said motioning down the street.

“I feel ignored, and that’s when I got a hold of you,” he told WSMV4 Investigates.

After talking to Robertson, WSMV4 contacted NES requesting an interview and information regarding Roberts’ complaint and how quickly the company responds to reports of malfunctioning streetlights.

In an email, NES said it couldn’t “accommodate an interview,” but the company did send a crew to Roberts’ neighborhood and “found several lights that needed repaired.”

According to NES, Roberts’ initial report of malfunctioning lights “did not include an identifying pole number” and that resulted in the company needing to perform an in-person assessment of the entire neighborhood.

Roberts said several poles in his neighborhood are missing identification numbers, and he mentioned that in his complaint. And if missing pole numbers was going to slow repairs down for more than two months, NES could have let him know.

“If they’d give me some kind of timeline, you know, I wouldn’t have an issue,” Roberts said.

In its communications with WSMV4 Investigates, NES said there are no official policies or regulations dictating how fast the company must respond once it receives a report of a malfunctioning streetlight. However, NES said, “It is our goal to repair lights within four working days after they are reported/entered into the system.”

With that in mind, NES said sometimes it’s unable to meet that goal when storms and equipment failure across the electrical system cause the company to divert repair crews.

NES did assure WSMV4 Investigates that the lights in Roberts’ neighborhood would get fixed within a week. While Roberts was initially doubtful, he said a couple nights after WSMV4 visited his East Nashville home, the streetlights came back on.

“Good and safe now,” Roberts said. “But it took you all to get something done.”

On average, NEW said the company repairs between 1,500 and 2,000 streetlights a month with most of the issues reported by NES customers.

If you notice a streetlight out or malfunctioning in your neighborhood, you can report the problem by filling out a form on the NES website.

If you are having problems with your streetlights getting fixed, click to reach investigative reporter Stacey Cameron.