FNQROC Projects - November 2013

By: Regional Projects Coordinator, Daniela Gambotto...

Street Lighting and Sustainability

October proved to be an active month on the street lighting front...

Earlier in the month FNQROC member Councils and DTMR met with key staff from the metering area of Ergon Energy and Ergon Retail.  Ergon staff were very generous with their time and provided a comprehensive overview of the current street lighting situation.  This included:

  • the results of the recently completed state-wide audit and new web-based 'LightMap' tool for management of street light assets,
  • an explanation of current maintenance programs in relation to street lighting,
  • regulated cost recovery – namely tariff 71 and the Alternative Control Service Charge, and,
  • a new Service Level Agreement between Ergon Energy and its street lighting customers (ie. us!)

Of course we were most pleased with the final point of the meeting that will finally address the service level issue we have been discussing for some months now.  Ergon Energy has indicated it is very keen to receive our input into the development of an SLA.  The good news is the Australian Energy Regulator is requiring the SLA be prepared and finalised by March 2014.  This doesn't give us a lot of time to get organised, however, a short time frame is a good time frame in my mind – the 10% pass through of ACS charges is due to commence in July 2014 and we don't want to wait any longer than we have to for this important contractual arrangement to be put in place.

I have since caught up with key staff from all Councils to discuss what aspects need to be covered in the SLA and we have drafted some initial points for Ergon Energy to consider.  Given the lines of communication are now open, I anticipate we will continue to engage with Ergon Energy staff over coming months as the SLA evolves into a living document.

We also have received positive replies from both Ergon Energy executives and both the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Energy & Water Supply to our correspondence from last month.  I am confident we have put our issues on the agenda and will continue to gather support as we move through the process of setting up the SLA and advancing our initiative to move towards more energy efficient street lighting.

Regional Events

A report was put to the October FNQROC Board Meeting recommending the insertion of a clause into all Councils Community Grants Policies which would facilitate a regional response to sponsorship requests for cross regional events.  The new clause calls for the FNQROC Regional Events Strategy Group to evaluate the sponsorship request and provide advice to host Councils.  There also is a provision within this amendment to support single contractual arrangements between councils and event organisers.  Both of these provisions will only apply to events which cross more than two Local Government area boundaries.

In the coming month I will continue to investigate a best practice guideline for regional events by referring to some of the more experienced event organisers and liaising with other key stakeholders.