The Cootamundra-Regional Regional Council released their Finance Report in September, with the latest Ordinary Council Meeting Agenda discussing the proposal for updated street lighting for Cootamundra. A provision made in the Quarterly Budget Review allowed a potential expenditure of $521,877 to fund the proposed Bulk Light Emitting Diode (LED) Upgrade for Street Lighting. The CGRC explained the cost of the initial investment as well as yearly savings via rebate that the LED lighting will return.

“In relation to a proposed conversion of street lighting, Essential Energy is undertaking an LED rollout across our footprint over the next few years to drive reduced carbon emissions, reduced streetlighting bills and more efficient public lighting,” the Monthly Finance Report in the CGRC Business Paper read. “Council is given the choice to either contribute capital upfront, or to have Essential Energy fund the installation with recovery through regulated annual tariffs. “The upfront net cost to Council is $521,877 (excluding GST and including a contingency of 2%).

This will be offset by an annual cost saving of $75,997 on the current annual charge, thus the upfront cost will be recouped through annual savings in 6.86 years. The total cost saving over 10 years will amount to $238,093. “Under the Essential Energy funding option, there is an operating charge and a capital charge over 10 years. The combined annual contribution to Essential Energy over 10 years would result in an annual cost saving of $21,784 on the current annual charge, or $217,840 over 10 years.” Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Councillor Charlie Sheahan was very supportive of the proposal, saying that it would save Council costs in the long run. “I like the proposal from Essential Energy to upgrade the street lighting to LED as it will be a financial saving to Council,” Cr Sheahan said.

“I said to the manager of finance that it looks like a pretty good investment to me on paper, the rough figures are a 10% return on your capital, which is pretty good. “The options were for council to do that, or Essential Energy would fund it. They would use the balance of the savings to pay for the investment. “He hasn’t quite finished all the budgetary figures and stuff, but even so, I said even if we borrowed the money, that sort of a return would still be a very good option to look at and he agreed.

Charlie moved the recommendation as finance management to make the half a million-dollar investment and to receive the annual savings. “It’s part of our energy efficiency program that we’ve got in place. It’s good to see that sort of happening was one thing,” Charlie continued. The LED lights are designed for longevity and to be around for not just now but for years into the future. Tim Warren