Cowra facing electricity price rise pressure, Mayor

Electricity and energy prices are having a negative economic impact on central west councils including Cowra, Mayor, Councillor Bill West said.

To combat this increasing cost, Cowra — along with other CENTROC councils — is continuing to explore initiatives to reduce costs to ratepayers, Cr West added.

"We understand and are concerned about the costs to residents and businesses of rising energy costs. The area that we as councils can make an impact on is in seeking reduced energy costs in our own operations; that conversely reduces costs to our ratepayers," Cr West said.

"While rate increases are pegged in NSW to the annual rate of inflation, costs like electricity aren't capped and have risen substantially over recent years," Cr West said.

"Initiatives such as the use of energy-efficient LED streetlights with smart controls are only one of the innovative approaches we can use to reduce power use."

Cr West pointed out that the Centroc Energy Group — which explores new ways to combat rampant power price rises for central west councils — has been active in addressing ways to offset 'bill shock'.

"We understand this problem as much as our residents and ratepayers hurting from power price surges; we are hearing from the community of 'bill shock' of up to 350 per cent for energy over recent years."

Group-buying by central west councils has also produced tangible savings with Cowra saving thousands of dollars on its power bills over recent years.

"Centroc member councils have been procuring electricity collectively for many years now, with the most recent contract seeing savings of around $360,000 per year across the region for their small sites," Cr West said.

He said that Centroc is working with the neighbouring Regional Organisation of Councils (ROCs), to negotiate the best possible outcome for Regional NSW to deliver more-efficient LED lighting.

Cowra would also continue to lobby strongly for power price certainty and an end to double-digit annual price rises for electricity from local providers, Cr West said.

"Cowra Council is no more immune from escalating power costs as individual ratepayers, we can only do our best to reduce costs and highlight the increased burden on ratepayers and industry of these costs," Cr West said.