A new multi-million pound remote control system to manage Wakefield’s 42,000 street lights could be brought in under plans to save the council up to £70m on their electricity bill.
The new street lighting plans have been drawn up after forecasts revealed lights, coupled with emissions targets, could cost the authority between £75.8m and £128.6m by 2030 if the authority does not act.
Street lighting across the Wakefield district is currently provided under a Private Finance Initiative with company Amey, an agreement which has 17 years left to run and sees the responsibility for energy prices fall on the authority.
A report to Wakefield Council’s cabinet, who will meet next week, says energy costs for this year are expected to be £2.3m.
But that is expected to rise to around £10m every year by the time the PFI comes to an end in 2030 – costing the council an estimated minimum of £75.8m.
The Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRCEE) will also see councils having to pay for an allowance for the emissions they produce, pushing costs up higher.
In a bid to keep them down, officers have drawn up plans to make street lighting cheaper and more energy efficient over the next 17 years. They include the introduction of a new Central Management System (CMS).
The report says: “CMSs allow individual street lights to be controlled remotely.
“This ensures that energy is only used when and where it is actually required.”
The cabinet will also look at introducing LED lights or “white light” which could cut energy consumption in half. Estimates put the cost of installing both a CMS and LED lighting at £14.8m
Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for Regeneration and Economic Growth, said: “It is very important that we are proactive in looking at how we can mitigate against future increases in street lighting energy usage and price inflation in the most efficient way. We also need to explore how we deal with the cost of Carbon Reduction credits should the current Government proposals continue.
“This report is the first step in the process to enable us to plan for the future, deliver the best possible value for money and continue taking a pro-active approach to climate change.”