Crawley council properties to get automatic energy meters

Automatic meters are to be installed on Crawley Borough Council properties after the authority was blind-sided by a £400,000 energy bill.
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A report to the overview & scrutiny commission in June said the £403,000 overspend during the final quarter of 2022/23 came about ‘because of multiple unexpected increases on electricity bills’.

Councillors were told that bills which were previously lower than £1,000 per quarter came in at £15,000 or higher between January and March.

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But no one seemed to be 100 per cent sure why the bills were suddenly so high.

Crawley council was hit with a huge energy billCrawley council was hit with a huge energy bill
Crawley council was hit with a huge energy bill

The issue was raised again during a meeting of the full council last week, with Conservative leader Duncan Crow describing the situation as ‘bizarre’.

A council spokesman said: “A combination of reasons led to the overspend on electricity, including higher electricity tariffs across all of our properties and the operation of two Town Hall buildings for six months.”

The spokesman added that, as its Crawley Homes accounts were being moved over to the LASER Bureau Service to secure better rates, a large number of meters needed to be read by hand as part of the termination of their previous arrangements.

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They added: “There were some accrued deficits which had to be resolved as part of that transfer.

“The LASER Bureau Service will see the installation of automatic meters across our properties.

“This will provide accurate and timely data on consumption and expenditure, enabling any anomalies to be quickly identified and action taken if necessary.”

LASER was created by Kent County Council in 1989 and helps public sector organisations such as councils to reduce energy costs.