Switch glitch

Energy-saving LED lights are in common use these days to minimize electricity bills. Some buildings even have computerized LED lighting systems to automatically switch lights on and off as needed.

The Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, USA, installed a decade ago a “green lighting system” that ran on software that automatically turned its 7,000 lights on and off to save energy and money. However, a software glitch caused the lights to burn continuously, giving school officials and neighbors a big headache.

The lights at the MRHS building shone brightly through the night, the problem was they did not dim during the day, NBC News reported.

Aaron Osborne, assistant superintendent of finance at the Hampden-Wilbraham Regional School District which administers the MRHS, learned the cause of the problem.

“The lighting system went into default, and the default position kept the lights always on,” Osborne said, according to NBC News.

To dim the lights when videos and movies were shown in class, teachers had to unscrew the light bulbs.

Since the lights were on all the time, the school ran up its electric bill, which cost the taxpayers.

School officials tried to get in touch with 5th Light, the company that installed the lighting software, but its ownership had changed. It took them some time to find the new owner, Reflex Lighting Group, which agreed to replace the software, server, lighting control boards and other hardware for $1.2 million.

The problem remains, however, as the equipment was to come from suppliers in China which is suffering factory disruptions due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The contractor had repeatedly rescheduled the repair several times since February 2022 due to the delayed orders. It hopes to finally fix the switch glitch this month and finally turn off the lights at the MRHS that have been on 24/7 since 24 August 2021, or for 528 days straight.

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