Councils face power price hike
Jerilderie and Berrigan shire councils could be slammed with a massive price hike for the cost of their street lighting.
Jerilderie Shire general manager Craig Moffitt says his shire is expecting a 115 per cent increase, or $50,000 a year, while Berrigan Shire Council is facing a 95 per cent increase, or $45,000 a year.
Essential Energy charges Riverina councils to run and maintain the public lighting infrastructure.
In a recent report, the company has proposed to increase its revenue for providing lighting services from July next year to 2019.
Jerilderie Shire is one of 27 of the region’s council to be affected by the price hike.
Mr Moffitt says he has never seen Essential Energy propose an increase like this before and will be investigating the situation.
‘‘We’re going to find out what this is all about,’’ he said.
‘‘Councils were told about it a few days ago and at this stage we don’t know a lot of detail.
‘‘Essential Energy is saying it reflects user pays and that we’ve been discounted for so long so now we’ll have to pay the full amount.
‘‘It’s a massive increase and adds to the reason council is pro- posing a rise in its rates this year.
‘‘Naturally people are against the rate increase but we need to find a way to balance the books.’’
Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins says he will be preparing a submission against the increase.
‘‘We have no grounds to technically challenge it but we will be making a submission,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s really poor timing with the losses from the Financial Assistance Grants. The increase is significant.’’
In its report, Essential Energy says it plans to introduce a new model which will better reflect the costs of public lighting services.
Essential Energy says in the past the cost has been under-recovered.
According to the report, the proposed increases are also in accordance with National Electricity Rules.