30 September 2010 | Angeline Albert
Surrey’s streetlight-buying strategy has delivered savings, allowed more effective monitoring and cut the county’s carbon emissions
CATEGORY: Best public procurement project
Surrey County Council won this category for a streetlight-buying strategy that has saved it hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
In 2005, the authority embarked on the procurement of the largest street-lighting private finance initiative project in the UK, replacing 66,000 lamps and upgrading 18,000 more over five years. It also required that the lights be maintained for 20 years.
In the early phases, the group in charge struggled to define an affordable technical scope. In January 2009, the council’s procurement department took on leadership of the scheme. This fresh focus led to a financial close with the Skanska Laing consortium in November 2009.
The procurement team’s strategy included creating direct agreements with energy network providers. It secured agreements between Skanska Laing and electricity suppliers to enable Skanska Laing to take on the role of new connections and fault rectification. This resulted in significant cost savings.
The adoption of a web-based central management system enabled the council to remotely monitor and manage energy consumption and implement dimming regimes. Streetlights with abnormal energy usage would be automatically flagged to Skanska Laing. The Surrey project is the largest use of this technology to date. As a result, fault response times improved and Skanska Laing agreed to a more demanding key performance indicator of 99 per cent of streetlights working at any time. This gave the council a better service at a lower cost.
Another substantial benefit was the reduction of Surrey’s carbon emissions by more than 60,000 tonnes – saving the taxpayer at least £12 million in energy bills.
In addition, working relationships between Surrey County Council and the street lighting supplier have improved because Surrey and Skanska Laing staff now work in the same depot.
The contract began on 1 March this year. Already more than 3,000 outstanding faults have been repaired and more than 850 streetlights installed which can be managed centrally and dimmed to 50 per cent overnight.
Council leader Andrew Povey said: “Bright white lights managed by remote control will mean a more reliable system. All this will cost less to run than if we were to maintain the county’s current ageing orange lights.”
Also on the short list
NHS East of England Strategic Projects Team; NHS South East Coast Collaborative Procurement Hub; North West Collaborative Commercial Agency; Southampton City Council; Welsh Assembly Government, Value Wales Division, xchangewales programme