SOME councils in the Orana Regional Organisation of Councils (OROC) are facing a 100 per cent increase in public lighting charges by Essential Energy.
OROC chairman and Narromine mayor, Bill McAnally has challenged the veracity of the basis for the proposed charge increases.
“OROC members will pay an additional $1.2 million in 2015-16 if proposed by Essential Energy’s tariff increases to Public Lighting are ratified by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER),” he said.
“There is a collective concern over price and quality of service across the state.”
Mr McAnally said the increases would mean that council budgets would take a big hit.
“Along with other regions in NSW, OROC has provided detailed submissions to the regulatory body on Essential Energy’s unreasonable proposed price hikes,” he said.
“Although Essential Energy has accepted a few of the issues raised by councils, these tariff increases will only make a minor adjustment to street lighting changes and some councils will still see a 100pc rise in public lighting costs.”
Recently Essential Energy wrote to all councils in the region warning that if the electricity provider didn’t get the proposed price increase it wanted, they would be cutting jobs and downgrading services in the region, Mr McAnally said.
“The AER has found that there is room for Essential Energy to operate more efficiently and effectively and OROC has highlighted three areas of concern being cost, competence and choice," he said.
“It is now up to Essential Energy to acknowledge some of our concerns together with AER’s recommendations and not drive an alarmist campaign about job and service cuts to regional areas.”
OROC has been closely engaged in the process of revised Regulatory Proposal with both Essential Energy and the AER and a decision from the AER is expected next month.