10/01/2022

Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

Council calls for Government help as it faces £8m energy costs rise

NEATH Port Talbot Council is facing an estimated rise in energy costs of more than £8m.

The council currently pays just over £5m for its electricity and gas contracts but that figure could rise in 2023/24 by 162% to more than £13m.

Cllr Simon Knoyle, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Social Justice, said:

“There is an urgent need for government support otherwise we face the prospect of deep cuts to services which will have a damaging impact on local people at a time when we are working hard to respond to much higher levels of need following the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Schools, community centres, transport, theatres, leisure centres, social care and many other services are facing bills that outstrip the budgets available. Without government intervention service cuts will be unavoidable.”

Wholesale energy costs have quadrupled since Autumn 2021 and are set to rise another 65% in October 2022. There are many reasons for the increases, including: recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic which reduced production processes globally, last winter being colder than average in Europe and Asia which increased global demand and reduced gas reserves and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A number of initiatives are currently being developed and implemented to improve energy performance and advance carbon management in Neath Port Talbot Council’s operational service delivery including the formulation of a net-zero carbon reduction strategy, an LED lighting improvement programme, the development of a series of solar photovoltaic projects, the development of a schools energy efficiency programme (SEEP) and re-establishing an AMR (Automatic Metering Reading) programme across its building.

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