Power bills tumble with eco measures at district council

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POWER-SAVING measures have seen South Holland District Council’s electricity bills almost halve in the past three years.

Solar panels, switch off days and reducing the power used by computer hardware are some of the measures which are helping to drive down costs – a saving which is passed on to council tax payers.

The council’s Priory Road offices now use 35 per cent less electricity than they did three years ago, and in the last financial year the amount spent on electricity has dropped from £58,500 to around £29,500 – partly due to price changes but also because of positive action to reduce usage.

Executive member for carbon management (green agenda) Roger Gambba-Jones said: “As well as seeking better value for taxpayers, by reducing operating costs of the district council we are also committed to finding ways of reducing our impact on the environment.”

Last year solar panels were installed on the office roof with an investment of £89,000.

The move has already seen savings of about £2,000 and earned an income through the feed-in tariff system of about £8,000 between August 2011 and this June.

Allowing for maintenance costs, the panels are expected to have paid for themselves within 12 to 13 years.

The council has also installed voltage optimisation units, which reduce the power used, at its offices and the South Holland Centre for £25,500 – which are expected to have a payback period of less than five years.

The number of servers used to operate its computer systems have also been reduced to help cut costs and staff at all council-run sites have been involved in ensuring energy is not wasted by switching off appliances when not in use.

And greenhouse gas emissions have not been overlooked, with the council seeing a 13 per cent reduction in its carbon emissions from its buildings and vehicles in 2011/12.