Dim view of tariff

Ms Russell said the City would like more transparency in how the street lighting tariff was determined and what future hikes were based upon.

Budget papers reveal councils have been hit with a 7.5 per cent increase to the price of providing street lighting. The cost is set to rise by 16 per cent the following year.

�The City of Canning has estimated that it will incur an additional $140,000 in costs for street lighting from the State Government tariff increase,� Ms Russell said. �For households with rates of $700, the tariff rise will amount to an estimated rate rise of $2.10.�

Cannington MLA Bill Johnston said bad management of the electricity system over the past six years had led to higher costs.

�There are many better ways to manage street lighting costs, including allowing councils to manage their own light poles and installing solar panels,� Mr Johnston said.

WA Local Government Association president Troy Pickard said while the State Budget delivered some challenges, local governments would not be affected as much as other industries.

�The street lighting tariff increase of 7.5 per cent is far more reasonable than the 36.8 per cent foreshadowed in last year�s State Budget,� he said.

Riverton MLA Mike Nahan said Synergy�s streetlight tariff remained below the cost of supply, meaning the supplier was effectively subsiding local government.

�Any councils that claim the street lighting tariffs have caused them to increase rates will need to explain openly and transparently how they have come to that conclusion,� Dr Nahan said. �The Government has begun taking the necessary steps to limit future electricity price increases for households and businesses, and reduce the need to subsidise an industry that is forecast to cost the state more than $500 million in 2014-15.

�Reducing the subsidy to the energy industry will take pressure off West Australian households and businesses.�