May 17, 2022 6.30 pm

Council squeezed as energy bills to double by end of year

Bills jumped from £44,000 to nearly £100,000 a year

By Local Democracy Reporter

North Kesteven District Council has seen their energy bills double as the cost of gas and electricity spirals.

NKDC expects to pay just under £100,000 over the course of the year – more than twice its bill of £44,000 in 2019.

It hopes to make savings by installing solar panels on the roof of its HQ in Sleaford.

The dramatic increase shows how public bodies’ finances are being squeezed by the energy crisis, which could lead to difficult decisions in future.

A spokesperson for North Kesteven District Council said: “Like households, energy price increases are affecting councils as well, adding to the pressures on funding essential services.

“Annual electricity consumption for the council offices in 2019 was nearly 330,000kWh per annum, at 13.29p per kWh, the annual cost was around £44,000.

“The current price of electricity is 28p per kWh, a little more than double. It’s predicted that prices will reach 30p per kWh before the end of 2022. This would represent an increase of more than 125% for the Council and a bill of £99,000.

“It’s for this reason, and to cut our carbon emissions, that we’ve introduced plans to increase the solar panel installation on our office roof.”

Proposed solar panels at NKDC’s office building | Photo: North Kesteven District Council

Some 230 solar panels were recently approved by the council for the Kesteven Street building at an estimated cost of £150,000.

It is hoped that the investment will cut energy bills by up to a quarter each year, and prevent 20 tons of CO2 from being released.

They are set to be installed before winter if planning approval is given.

Council leader councillor Richard Wright said when the scheme was announced that solar panels could potentially help families cut down on their energy bills.

“From an environmental perspective – for those who can afford to – it might now be worth considering household solar installations.

“With prices for solar panels dropping, and electricity from the grid increasing in cost, the scales are tipping more in favour of solar in terms of return on investment. You’d also be cutting your own carbon footprint hugely which we all need to do,” he said.