The State Government’s 29.8 per cent increase in the electricity tariff included in the recent State Budget has caused uproar among local governments.
WA Local Government Association President, Mayor Troy Pickard said this increase was “totally unexpected” and places a “massive strain” on local government finances.
Mr Pickard said local governments’ decision to request electricity utilities to switch off street lighting or at least scale it back in their areas is their only option.
“Switching off street lights is a last resort as there are good reasons in regard to community safety and amenity that street lighting is provided by local governments,” Mr Pickard said.
One of WA’s largest local government, the City of Stirling, has estimated its unexpected increased cost to be $1.1 million or about $13 per person.
According to Mr Pickard, the “lack of drive” by the electricity utilities to accommodate the local government sector’s desire for more efficient lighting systems has exacerbated the crisis.
Mr Pickard said it has taken a decade getting electricity utilities to seriously support local government moves to more efficient street lighting, but “there is still much to be done”.
“Certainly this 30 per cent increase would still have been unexpected by the sector but its comparative impact on overall expenditure would have been less if more efficient systems were already in place,” Mr Pickard said.
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