Inspire : Public Works Sept Oct 2014
35 THOUGHT LEADERS DR STEPHEN LEES DIRECTOR SUSTAINABILITY, IPWEA local councils just have to accept it. The problem was highlighted recently when Essential Energy -- the distribution utility for regional and rural NSW -- sought approval to raise its street lighting charges on councils by 60 per cent. THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM In theory, national competition policies should allow contestability -- the ability for councils to choose a street lighting provider other than their local electricity distribution utility. However, in practice there is no contestability because the utilities own the street lights, and most of the poles on which the lights are mounted. Even if the utilities agreed to sell the street lights back to the councils, in many states high valuations on the lighting assets make that fnancially impossible for councils. Furthermore, if it allowed a council to take over the maintenance of street lights in its area (or contract out that function), so long as the utility owns the street lights it can charge the council various ongoing Unthinkable anywhere else, local councils pay for most street lighting in Australia (that they are legally responsible for providing), but they are powerless to control its costs or the level of ser vice provided. This is because, in most places, electricity distribution utilities own and maintain the street lights. Moreover, in most jurisdictions there is no ser vice level agreement or regulation covering street lighting to provide a basis for negotiations. So when the electricity distribution utilities' street lighting charges rise sharply, as they have in recent years, Out in front LED technology has won the street lighting race, but ownership uncertainties hinder uptake and delay benefits.
Public Works Nov Dec 2014
Public Works July Aug 2014