A proposed massive price hike to the cost of public lighting will force local councils to compromise on public safety, NSW Labor said today.
Shadow Local Government Minister Sophie Cotsis was responding to a plea by the NSW Local Government Association which is calling on local councils to lodge objections to the increase.
Essential Energy wants to increase electricity bills for street lighting – depending on the local government area – from 28 per cent to up a massive 123 per cent.
The plan is currently under active consideration by the Australian Energy Regulator and a final determination will be made on April 30, 2015. The new prices would come into effect for the 2015- 16 financial year.
“Hiking public lighting bills by as high as 123 per cent is a huge jump and a total surprise to local government,” Ms Cotsis said.
“One in four councils are already under financial pressure, and the Abbott Liberal Government has cut $288 million worth of Commonwealth Financial Assistance Grants to NSW councils.”
Essential Energy should reconsider the increase. Councils will face stark choices and we do not want them compromising on public safety by reducing lighting due to overwhelmingly high costs.
They will have no choice, but to reduce the number of street lights. Orange, Bathurst and Dubbo local councils will be facing bills of more than $500,000. Other councils across the State will be hit including:
- Broken Hill – 123 per cent
- Narromine – 117 per cent
- Jerilderie – 115 per cent – $50,000
- Wellington – 113 percent
- Warrumbungle – 113 percent
- Deniliquin – 102 per cent – $38,285
- Mid Western Regional – 101 per cent
- Kyogle – 86 per cent – $26,300
- Berrigan – 95 per cent – $45,000
- Conargo – 81 per cent
- Murray Shire – 80 per cent
- Lismore – 73 per cent – $143,000
- Byron Shire – 73 per cent - $65,000
- Ballina – 73 per cent – $126,000
- Richmond Valley – 70 per cent – $70,300
- Tweed – 58 per cent - $220,000
What happened to a reduction in electricity prices promised by the Liberals after the repeal of the Carbon Tax?