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Energy Detective product looks to cut massive council power bill

A local government data analytics team is examining ways in which councils in Queensland can reduce their energy bills, currently running at a collective $250 million a year across the sector.

The Local Government Association of Queensland’s Sherlock project is sifting through data on council energy use to identify patterns, map usage meter by meter and find potential savings in one of the biggest costs councils face.

Dubbed Energy Detective, the service is one of the first developed by the LGAQ Sherlock team and is expected to be rolled out to councils throughout 2019.

It comes as the LGAQ announces the appointment of long time local government executive Chris Rose to a key industry interface role with the Sherlock project.

Mr Rose has wide local government knowledge and experience, having worked as chief executive officer for the Logan City and Toowoomba Regional Councils as well as holding senior roles in several NSW councils.

He recently facilitated an industry forum with key council representatives to work through the detail of the Energy Detective service.

Representatives from Southern Downs, Scenic Rim, Mareeba, Sunshine Coast, Lockyer Valley, Redland City, Noosa, Logan City, Gold Coast City, Moreton Bay, and Brisbane City Councils attend the forum.

LGAQ chief executive Greg Hallam welcomed Mr Rose’s appointment, saying it was important there was a strong, experienced liaison between the Sherlock team and Queensland councils.

“Chris will make sure that any data analytics product Sherlock pursues shows an awareness and understanding of the reality and on-the-ground challenges that councils face,” he said.

Mr Hallam said energy was chosen as one of the first areas of focus for Sherlock because it represented a large and increasing cost to councils.

“The annual bill for energy use in the Queensland local government sector is in excess of $250 million,” he said.

“Given the rapidly growing capability of data analytics to reduce costs and drive efficiencies, energy is a logical place to start discovering where the savings are.”

Mr Rose said big data would be a vital part of all successful businesses in the future, including councils.

“Council are busy with competing priorities and ongoing financial sustainability challenges and all that makes them risk-averse,” he said.

“But I believe it is incumbent on councils to seriously look at the opportunities that data analytics presents in terms of improvements in terms of finances, risk and reputation.”