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County council save £1m on fuel and energy costs
7:40am Tuesday 29th January 2013 in News
WORCESTERSHIRE County Council has saved more than £1 million on energy and fuel costs despite delaying plans to dim street lights.
County Hall has cut its CO2 levels by 12 per cent by using less energy in buildings, encouraging staff to drive less and operating fewer vehicles for council business.
The latest figures reveal the authority used 59,887 tonnes of energy in 2009/10 which fell 11.6 per cent to 52,929 tonnes by the end of 2011/12, saving £1.16 million.
Better insulation, new energy efficient light bulbs and the installation of solar panels have all helped to save money at County Hall.
Councillors still hope that they will be able to reduce energy bills even further by dimming street lights across Worcestershire, but have revealed they are no further to deciding when.
The idea was temporarily shelved last year amid fears it could cost £3.4 million to implement.
There are 52,000 street lights in the county which cost taxpayers about £2 million a year to keep running.
Installing energy-efficient bulbs would save £600,000 a year but supplier costs would amount to an estimated £3.4 million up-front.
Councillor Anthony Blagg, cabinet member for environment and waste management, said: “The technology for low watt light bulbs is changing all the time.
“The last thing we want to do is spend a lot of money putting in bulbs, only for them to end up redundant in six months or so, because that would be a waste of money.“
The £3.4 million cost would pay for switching off half the lights in estates from midnight to 6am, dimming 80 per cent of lamps between 7.30am and 6pm on traffic routes and converting 8,000 to lower-wattage bulbs.