Council takes action over increased electricity costs
  • Thursday 31 July 2008

Sunshine Coast Council are leading with the front foot by implementing an arsenal of electricity saving initiatives to buffer against the recent electricity price increase.

In a report brought to council today by Paul Warren, Regional Manager of Financial Strategy, electricity costs are set to increase by 3.5% over the previous year, bringing Councils electricity spend up to $9.6m for the 2008/09 financial year.

Council had anticipated a healthy saving of $600k in electricity costs this financial year, however received a surprise blow on 30 June with notification of a $2.1m (73%) price hike for street lighting customers. State Government will off-set this increase with a payment of $1.1m leaving council to find $1m in an already tight budget.

Cr Chris Thompson noted that with electricity making up 4.3% of Council’s materials and services budget, savings and initiatives to reduce consumption are paramount.

“Council already has a comprehensive range of initiatives in place to reduce consumption, however we want to go the extra mile and trim usage as much as humanly possible”

“Public lighting is already on the radar with energy efficient metal halide lights installed at Parkyn Parade Mooloolaba, the car park at the Sunshine Coast Airport, the Mooloolaba Car Park and the Maroochy Boulevard bridge”.

“Looking further into the efficiency of street lighting, Council is participating in a trial of energy efficient streetlights with several other Councils, the State Department of Mines & Energy and Energex to establish the best way forward for the Sunshine Coast”.

“There are a host of energy reduction initiatives and proactive processes in place to routinely monitor Councils usage, the energy market, individual sites and facilities to ensure we are on top of our game”.

“Where we go from here is really a continuation of the initiatives already in place, tailoring these to changes in the market and demand, and technological improvement”.

“An energy management strategy developed two years ago is the key to further reductions in energy consumption, with six key energy management projects in place and a further 48 action plans to be implemented, the strategy is primarily directed at minimising costs and usage however underpinning this are the significant resultant climate change and environment benefits”.

“Two of the key projects identified within the strategy are optimising the operation of the solar sludge drier at the Maroochydore sewage treatment plant and converting waste landfill gas to electrical energy at Council waste facilities”.

The report noted that while consumption in Queensland has risen by over 53% in the last 10 years, Queensland has the third lowest residential electricity prices in Australia and the fifth lowest in the world.