Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Why are lights left on in vacant buildings?

When President Richard Nixon was in office, the national debt was $358 billion, according to the Bureau of Public Debt. Today the national debt is $10.6 trillion.

Associated Press (1969)

When President Richard Nixon was in office, the national debt was $358 billion, according to the Bureau of Public Debt. Today the national debt is $10.6 trillion.

Lights on in empty buildings?

As companies go out of business or go bankrupt, how or why do they keep the electricity on in the buildings they stop using? Who is paying these electricity bills?

Many stores, vacant or not, leave lights on around the clock for safety reasons, particularly special emergency lights designed to illuminate an area if there's a fire.

Sometimes, the lights remain on to prevent crime and break-ins. And keeping lights on in, say, a shopping center or a mall, helps draw shoppers to neighboring stores. (A dimmed storefront can deter shoppers from venturing to a particular area, even if other shops are open.)

Other times, keeping lights on is akin to mounting a giant "For Rent" sign outside a store. That's because illuminating a site helps landlords promote the space to prospective tenants.

And in the case of a complicated bankruptcy or liquidation, sometimes the lights stay on simply because that's how they were left when the last employee walked out of the building and locked the door.

Most retailers lease their space, so a landlord typically foots the bill for the utility costs when no one is occupying the space.

Debt's growth since Nixon

What was the national debt when each president took office, starting with Richard Nixon? And what is the source?

The Bureau of Public Debt, under the authority of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, keeps monthly statements of public debt online dating to 1963. All these figures are as of the inauguration month of January, except for President Gerald Ford, who was inaugurated in August.

• President Richard Nixon, 1969: $358 billion

• President Gerald Ford, 1974: $481.7 billion

• President Jimmy Carter, 1977: $653.9 billion

• President Ronald Reagan, 1981: $934 billion

• President George H.W. Bush, 1989: $2.69 trillion

• President Bill Clinton, 1993: $4.16 trillion

• President George W. Bush, 2001: $5.7 trillion

• President Barack Obama, 2009: $10.6 trillion

Hawaiian musician identified

I recently watched a summer program called The Philanthropist and was impressed with the story line and the acting. Near the end of the episode Kosovo, a man sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow. His rendition blew me away. Could you identify the artist and tell me if he has a CD that includes the song?

That was the often-used rendition of the song by Hawaiian music legend Israel "Iz" Kamakawiwo'ole. Although Iz died a decade ago, his music lives on in many CDs, including Facing Future, with the song you are looking for.

Q&A: Why are lights left on in vacant buildings? 08/31/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 31, 2009 5:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. How many more people would lack coverage under Cassidy-Graham? We can guess

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — It's safe to say the new Obamacare rollback measure toward which the Senate is charging would mean fewer Americans have health coverage. Exactly how many is unclear. Some argue it could be more than 22 million people. Others say it could be fewer.

  3. Woman's decomposed body found near St. Petersburg railroad tracks

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman's body was found near the railway tracks behind an empty building at 3100 38th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.

  4. Warehouse burns on Tampa's east side

    News

    TAMPA — Hillsborough County emergency crews are at the scene of a two-alarm fire at a warehouse near 56th Street and East Hillsborough Avenue.

    Hillsborough County firefighters battle a blaze Thursday night at a warehouse on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  5. 'Dream big' drives Lightning's Conacher brothers

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.

    Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher (89) on the ice during Lightning training camp in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17).