Across the street from the Sun-Star office, inside the Walgreens shopping center at Olive Avenue and G Street, the former Albertsons building stands untouched and vacant.
It's been almost four years since the store closed; however, the lights inside the store are still on -- but nobody's home.
Last week, a tipster called my desk to complain about the waste of electricity that has taken place. The caller said the lights have been on for some time, maybe even years.
I went across the street last week to investigate. Sure enough, most of the lights were on. Some had burned out, but most were on.
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I called the city to see what can be done to solve the problem and also who's responsible for the waste of energy.
Mike Conway, city spokesman, said the owner is responsible for the property.
In 2007, Save Mart Supermarkets bought 130 Albertsons stores around Northern California, including the one on G Street.
That same year, Save Mart decided to close the Merced store. Since then, it's stood empty.
I contacted Save Mart's corporate office to find out why the lights are still on.
Louie Yan, a spokesman for Save Mart, spoke to the engineering department, which said the lights are on for safety reasons.
So safety gets priority over energy efficiency in this case.
What's wrong: The lights inside of the former Albertsons have been on for years, despite the store's closure in 2007.
Who's responsible: Save Mart owns the land.
What's being done: Nothing. According to a spokesman for the company, the lights are on as a security measure.
If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Jamie Oppenheim, with your tips at (209) 385-2407 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.