04 May 2000 | Elizabeth Bellamy
The Highways Agency has awarded a £7.4 million national contract to a single electricity supplier in what experts say is now a trend in the UK, writes Elizabeth Bellamy.
Moving to a national contract that is worth three-quarters of the agency's £12 million electricity spend has generated savings of more than £2 million, said a Highways Agency spokesperson.
The deal with Eastern Electricity for road lighting, which runs until next April, is the largest-ever contract for unmetered electricity in England, said the spokesperson.
Eastern, which previously held a contract with the agency for East Anglia and north London, replaces 10 firms that were supplying the agency on separate regional contracts.
While the agency had no immediate plans to use similar national deals for roads procurement and management, the deal "could provide a model for future use", added the spokesperson.
Don McGarrigle, chairman of the Major Energy Users' ?ouncil electricity group, said a trend had emerged over the past five years for industrial and commercial businesses to award electricity contracts on a national basis. "Having one point of contact with one supplier is easier than juggling several players," he said.
There are likely to be fewer major supply interruptions with the agency's new deal, added McGarrigle, as Eastern is large enough to have a number of regional service centres.