Council’s £63m saving in street lighting PFI deal

Changes to a contract with a private firm to provide street lighting in West Sussex could save the county council £63million.

West Sussex County Council is in a 25-year Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with Tay Valley Lighting to replace, operate and maintain its street lamps.

Street light EMN-161031-121941001

Street light EMN-161031-121941001

The contract had an estimated value of £339m when it was signed in 2010, but that figure is set to drop to £277million.

See our special investigation here: The Lost Billions: PFI timebomb explodes

Part of that change is due to a shift in the deal, allowing for an upgrade to LED lighting.

At the time the original contract was made, LED lighting was deemed unreliable and unproven, and the county’s 67,500 streetlights were replaced using older technology.

Although this second upgrade will add to the scheme’s capital cost, the more efficient lighting is set to save £90m in energy costs and maintenance.

A spokesperson for West Sussex County Council said: “The cost of the PFI contract not only covered the street light replacement programme, but also the day-to-day management and maintenance of street lighting owned by WSCC up until 2035.

“The county council will receive PFI grant funding of £151m from central government over the duration of the scheme (£91m from 2020/21 onwards).

“Introducing LED lighting is anticipated to deliver financial savings totalling £90m.

“Not only will the more efficient LED lantern heads use less electricity, and deliver a significant saving on that front, but they will also require less routine maintenance leading to a further reduction in the ongoing cost.”

More from our PFI investigation:

Sussex Police under fire for not using custody suite – despite continuing to pay for it

How a PFI legacy is costing a Sussex NHS Trust millions