Electricity bills to keep Leeds street lights illuminated are up by 40 per cent – despite a £94m project to reduce energy consumption.
The bill has escalated from £3.1m to £5.1m since 2006 passing doubt on claims that replacing the city’s lamp posts would save money.
More than £94m has been spent by council bosses replacing 80,263 lights since 2006.
But the YEP can reveal that even though the new lights use less energy the council’s electricity bill to power them has increased.
They look set to spend more than £5.1m to power street lights, signs, bollards and traffic lights over the next year.
Officials spent just over £3.1m lighting the city’s streets six years ago when they started rolling out a project to replace thousands of street lights.
The total number of street lamps in the city has dropped since a private company took over their running as part of a 25 year deal.
Councillor Barry Anderson, shadow executive board for environmental services, said: “It does seem that the cost of street lighting is getting too high.
“We reduced the number of street lighting columns during the course of the PFI project yet the cost of electricity seems to have out stripped those planned savings.”
The council purchases energy for street lighting through the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation, which helps to negotiate prices, but wholesale electricity prices have gone up by 127 per cent since 2007.
A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council, said: “Unfortunately we have no control over the price of electricity.
“We are affected by rising energy prices just like everyone else in the country.
“Therefore it is inevitable that the amount we spend on electricity for lighting the streets of Leeds has increased since last year.
“However we do strive to do all we can to limit the amount of public money we spend.”
She said the council was looking to turn off some street lights during the night in a bid to save around £100,000 a year.