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Work to upgrade 960 streetlights to energy efficient technology will begin this week as part of a major energy efficiency project that will save hundreds of thousands in electricity bills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the ratepayers of Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC).

The switch to LED technology will see a 247 MWh per year reduction in power use, delivering savings of approximately $60,000 each year in maintenance and electricity costs.

CGRC mayor Cr Charlie Sheahan said Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council was committed to becoming more sustainable, and the LED upgrade is just one initiative in Council’s strategies to achieve energy and operational efficiencies in future years.

“Streetlighting is a significant expense for Council, costing around $130,000 each year, and with more than 960 streetlights across Council’s footprint, the upgrade will go a long way to reducing costs and providing significant long-term savings,” said Cr Sheahan. 

“LEDs are far more energy efficient, require less maintenance and have a significantly longer life.”

Cr Sheahan said LED streetlights consuming around 17 watts each will replace existing high-energy lights consuming between 50 and 100 watts.

“Council is investing approximately $522,000 to complete the bulk upgrade, with the costs expected to be recouped within 9 years, not including any increase in the price of electricity.”

Essential Energy streetlight manager Hamish Wheatley said the organisation continues to work closely with Councils across its distribution area and is committed to providing information and services that are appropriate to Councils’ needs and those of the communities they serve. Mr Wheatley acknowledged the input from the Southern Lights NSW Project, whose partners are working closely with Essential Energy to ensure the successful delivery of the project.

“Essential Energy is responsible for the maintenance and billing of more than 160,000 streetlights serving more than 85 councils across New South Wales and parts of Southern Queensland,” Mr Wheatley said.

“Public lighting plays an important role in providing safe, secure and attractive public areas for both pedestrians and motorists.”

 “The new LED streetlighting for Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council will not only provide a more reliable, better quality lighting service, but will deliver savings of more than 48 per cent in energy consumption.

 “This type of light also provides future potential for other ‘smart’ applications to be added and will allow Essential Energy to more effectively manage the streetlight network and respond more promptly to potential outages,” Mr Wheatley said.