The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) has launched a new sector called SLSC (street lighting and smart controls).
The New Zealand arm of the new sector has already lodged a submission with the NZ Energy Authority which called for views on new and disruptive technologies and their potential impact on the regulatory process.
According to IPWEA Australasia CEO Robert Fuller, the SLSC council brings together all the major players in the sector.
“It aims to ensure submissions can be made with industry cohesion and support. Governments and regulatory agencies then appreciate they have a submission of rigour.”
Speaking about the submission, IPWEA NZ president Peter Higgs says research commissioned by his group challenges the current system “whereby councils and local authorities pay the bills for the competitively-priced energy used by street lights, but are provided little to no information to justify the monopoly pricing of the charges for the transport of that electricity”.
He says local authorities do not currently gain any financial benefits from switching to new technology LED lighting from the move to distribution charges “that are 100 percent fixed as the industry appears to suggest they will become”.
He says councils spend between 40 percent (rural) and 76 percent (metropolitan) of their electricity bills on road and public lighting.
“So electricity charges are important as councils are always under pressure to provide more services with less money.”
This article was first published in the March 2016 issue of NZ Local Government Magazine.