Here’s what to do if streets are too dark for your comfort

(Southside Daily/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(Southside Daily/Courtesy of Pixabay)

VIRGINIA BEACH — Research has shown that streetlights cut down on crimes committed in a neighborhood — but how does someone get streetlights where they think necessary?

Dominion Energy spokeswoman Bonita Billingsly Harris said the company works at the request of each locality, “once a city determines the need for outdoor lighting, we install and maintain it.”

How to submit the request, and where to submit the request is where a lot of residents get stuck.

Richard Lowman is Virginia Beach’s traffic engineer. He said it’s as simple as calling his office.

“Residents can request a street light in their neighborhood by calling Traffic Engineering, 757-385-4131, and asking for David Benn or James Cross,” he said.

Lowman said once the department has the request crews come out to determine the need based on existing lighting, and then coordinate with Dominion Energy for installation.

Once the city determines the need for an outdoor light, the city pays for that light, says Jerri Northedge, Dominion Energy’s outdoor lighting program manager.

But if the city doesn’t determine there’s a need, residents can request Dominion install a private “watch light,” she noted.

By going to Dominion Energy’s website, residents can submit a request to install a light on their property at their own expense.

The flat rate price of a “watch light” is based on style, size, and location but the average is about $10 per month added to their bill, Northedge said.

Dominion Energy is going through its biggest outdoor lighting transition in 100 years, Harris said.

Customers should save money as the company exchanges outdoor light bulbs for the more cost-effective LED bulb, she added.

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Lucretia Cunningham is a multimedia journalist at Southside Daily covering hyper-local stories in Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Her stories focus on public safety, tourism, and city government. She is a Virginia transplant and military spouse originally from Chicago. Lucretia also served on active duty from 2006 to 2016 and started her journalism career as a broadcaster in the Virginia Air National Guard. When she’s not covering stories on the Southside, she’s covering stories with her Air National Guard unit.