Council saves over €1m on energy bill

Cork City Council has slashed over €1m from its energy bill despite soaring electricity and gas costs.

The savings were achieved over the past two years through a combination of reducing energy consumption, energy efficiency upgrades to public buildings, and competitive tendering, including:

na 6.3% overall reduction in electricity consumption across council operations since last year;

na 40% reduction in winter energy consumption in the City Hall building;

nand a competitive tendering deal which saved €100,000 on the council’s three largest electricity accounts — the Lee Road Waterworks, the Jack Lynch Tunnel and Atlantic Pond Pumping Station.

Despite these measures, rising electricity costs have seen the council’s overall electricity bill go up.

City manager Tim Lucey described the €1m savings as a phenomenal achievement given that energy unit costs had rose during the same period.

“Last year, the council’s method of procuring and managing energy was benchmarked against the best of the best by Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland,” he said.

Details of the savings and “expenditure avoidance” are contained in the Cork City Energy Agency (CCEA) report for 2010 and 2011.

The CCEA, which monitors and manages the council’s electricity and natural gas consumption, presented its report to councillors last week.

It shows the council spent €4m on electricity, including on the city’s un-metered public lights, in 2011.

Energia has supplied electricity to over 250 of the council’s accounts, including the public lighting, since 2009.

The council is part of a national procurement framework for the public sector which has achieved savings of some €60m nationally.

However, because the council was already ahead of the curve in terms of electricity procurement, the savings it achieved through the national scheme were minimal.

Instead, the council retained the Lee Road Waterworks, the Jack Lynch Tunnel and Atlantic Pond Pumping Station accounts — which together account for 40% of the council’s electricity consumption.

The CCEA tendered these accounts at the start of this year and secured an 8% saving — €100,000 cheaper than the national procurement service contract.

Two new energy efficient pumps were installed at the Lee Road Waterworks — the single biggest user of electricity in the council.

They replaced four 30-year-old machines and have achieved annual energy savings of about 10% and cost saving of €35,000 per year.

Energia also supplies natural gas to the city council — the main fuel for supplying heat to public buildings — after winning a competitive tender in late 2010 to run until late next year. Last year’s gas bill was just over €500,000.

Energy efficient lights were installed in the council’s Kryls Quay and Lavitts Quay car parks. A major programme to install energy efficient lighting in City Hall is also under way.


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