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Group of Canterbury schools achieve $403,000 power savings

Media Release March 2014

Schneider Electric Cuts Annual Electricity Bill to 84 Canterbury Schools by $403,000

The task of managing utility bills is top-of-mind for schools following the capping of government contributions to these costs, and one group of primary school chiefs is responding with assertive cost management. In September 2013, the Canterbury Primary Principals’ Association (CPPA) engaged energy solutions company Schneider Electric to source the best electricity rates in the market for their member schools, suspecting that en masse, they could negotiate a better deal.

That belief was borne out: Schneider Electric has since confirmed that of the 89 school electricity loads taken to market, a lower electricity tariff was obtained for 84. The average monthly saving for each of the 84 primary schools is $400 (a 17% reduction); the average annualized saving is $4,800; the largest annualized saving for a single school is $18,348; and the combined annualized saving for all 84 is a staggering $402,912.

Through Schneider Electric’s taking the schools to market together, the schools took advantage of the company’s activity and experience in the electricity market – it placed contracts worth more than $20 million in 2013 – and the economies of scale achieved by a collective approach. The company acted as a project manager, assessing each school’s power usage and needs and securing the more favourable rates, and charging a minimal one-off cost to each participant.

Ray Dunn, Schneider Electric New Zealand’s Country President, says, “Particularly in South Island regions, where school heating costs are highly variable depending on the severity of the winter months, it is essential to ensure that the best possible rate has been obtained. We were able to work collaboratively with the CPPA and its network of 209 schools, and take some of the burden off school administrators by using our experience and knowledge, as a company focused on creating energy efficiencies, when approaching power suppliers.

“The new deal has been in place since November 2013, and already a 17% average reduction has been recorded, which demonstrates the potential for other schools and organizations to make their power bill work smarter for their budgets. The bottom-line efficiencies created for this group of schools will have a long-term, beneficial effect, and enable schools to re-allocate the savings to other important areas.”

CPPA Member and Belfast School Principal Peter Simpson says, “The process with Schneider Electric was very simple and seemed a no-brainer for our network of CPPA member schools. Belfast School’s annual saving equates to approximately $9,000, which will go a long way towards helping us meet the actual cost of our heat, power and water bills.

“Currently, we and all other schools receive an annual capped grant from the government towards this cost, but this falls short of the real cost by $10,000 to $15,000 each year – our actual bill last year was $37,500. The saving has enabled us to take some of the pressure off and direct funding to other areas.”


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