Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 12:00 UK

Council faces 1m power bill rise

Services will be reviewed after the bill for Derbyshire's street lights rose by 1m, officials have admitted.

Surging energy prices meant Derbyshire County Council's annual contract to have power supplied to the lights increased by almost a third to 3.1m.

The council said it had done all it could to negotiate the best price for the electricity for its 90,000 lights.

But with council tax budgets set, the extra cost would have to be made up elsewhere, the authority said.

What we have to do now is examine our budgets
Brian Lucas, Derbyshire County Council
Brian Lucas, cabinet member for environmental services, said the price for a unit of energy had risen from 6p to 11p.

But he emphasised the council was not thinking of switching off any lights.

"It is certainly not an option we are considering at the moment - street lighting is for safety and security.

"What we have to do now is examine our budgets to find where we are going to find this shortfall."

He added: "We will have to look at services, any under-spends, or any areas we may be looking back where we may be making an investment."

Officials said it would in future also look at partnerships with neighbouring authorities to improve its bargaining position.

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