Norfolk's cash-strapped councils are facing huge increases in their energy bills, with costs doubling for most and even trebling for one.

New figures show the massive extra financial pressures being heaped on local authorities as a result of gas and electricity charges, as many already grapple with alarming budget deficits.

According to a new analysis, Broadland Council saw the biggest increase, with costs rising by 208pc, followed by North Norfolk which experienced a 161pc rise and Norwich City Council, where bills rose by 118pc.

Eastern Daily Press: Norwich's City Hall lit up during the festive periodNorwich's City Hall lit up during the festive period (Image: Newsquest)

The biggest total energy bill was at Norfolk County Council, where the total spend on gas and electricity went from £4,695,667 in 2022 to £7,459,117 last year, to provide power and heating for its buildings, including facilities like libraries and leisure centres, and the county's street lights.

The figures will exasperate many who have previously criticised the authority for leaving lights on at County Hall in the early mornings and late evenings, when the office block is largely empty.

Members of the public have repeatedly questioned why the large building in Martineau Lane is keeping its lights on throughout the night.

NCC has admitted that it looks like it is being wasteful with its energy, but bosses argue it has to leave lights on for staff working late, cleaners and security staff.


The rising cost of energy has affected households across the country following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which sent bills spiralling out of control and prompted the government to step in and offer grants to support people struggling.

Norfolk County Council says that despite being faced with increased costs, it has actually managed to reduce its energy consumption in recent years.

Measures have included LED streetlighting and energy-efficiency upgrades to council offices, libraries and depots, moving from fossil fuel-based heating to installing improved insulation where possible.

Eastern Daily Press: Jane James, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for commercial services and innovationJane James, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for commercial services and innovation (Image: Jane James)

Jane James, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for corporate services and innovation, said: "There’s more work to do, and we’re continuing to make the changes and upgrades to our estate where necessary, but we’re well on the way to a more efficient – and in energy terms, lower demand – future.”

Switching off streetlights in some areas has been one cost-saving measure implemented by NCC but critics have attacked the move, arguing it makes people feel less safe.

Efforts to find savings through energy efficiency will be vital for Norfolk's largest authority, as it seeks to plug a £46.2m hole in its budget for this year.



Councils across the country are under immense financial strain due to combined pressures of rising energy bills, social care costs and the huge demand for temporary housing amid a cost of living crisis that is pushing many households into money troubles.

A handful have declared themselves effectively bankrupt, with many more expected to follow.

A recent survey by the Local Government Association revealed that one in five council bosses believe it is likely they will run out of money within the next 15 months.

This could mean across the nation, residents will see a dramatic cut in services, with the councils only able to deliver the services they have a statutory duty to provide.

Energy costs represent only about 1-2pc of the annual revenue spend for Norfolk authorities but experts believe they could be doing more to get value for money.

Eastern Daily Press: Jamie Osborn, Green Party councillorJamie Osborn, Green Party councillor (Image: Jamie Osborn)



Jamie Osbourn, Green Party county councillor and parliamentary candidate for Norwich South, believes more can be done.

"Councils should be saving money on their multi-million-pound energy bills by investing in greener technologies that can save energy and reduce costs," he said.

"This includes replacing outdated fossil fuel boilers with much more efficient heat pumps.

"Councils should also not be wasting energy, for example by leaving the lights on all night at County Hall."

READ MORE: Norfolk County Council urged to turn streetlights back on

Eastern Daily Press: Street lighting accounts for a significant portion of Norfolk County Council's energy costsStreet lighting accounts for a significant portion of Norfolk County Council's energy costs (Image: Newsquest)

Box Power, an energy consultancy firm which compiled the data, believes public bodies need to be more transparent about the amount they are spending on energy.

CEO Corin Dalby said: “It seems crazy to me that taxpayers are unable to easily see what their local authority is paying for energy.

"As each council’s energy costs have been undisclosed until now, it means purchasing teams must also have been oblivious to each other’s performance and so in our view, no council was able to honestly demonstrate that they are achieving value for money without this level of transparency."