AIT part of Minister O'Keeffe's college energy cost-cutting plan

AIT is among six colleges that between them will save €1.5 million on their electricity bill after jointly tendering for a single energy supplier under cost-cutting plans devised by the Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe.

AIT, NUI Galway, Institute of Technology Carlow, St Angela’s College in Sligo, Cork Institute of Technology, and Institute of Technology Tallaght have formed the Shannon consortium to get better value for money for utilities such as electricity.

The move by the colleges comes following the establishment by Minister O’Keeffe of a steering group chaired by the Higher Education Authority (HEA ) to identify ways to cut costs and create efficiencies in the universities and institutes of technology.

Last year, the electricity bill for the six institutions came to €4.2 million.

Falling energy costs, group tendering, and greater competition in the market means that this year the institutions estimate the bill will come to €2.7 million - a saving of €1.5 million.

While last year the institutions had a mix of suppliers, Airtricity will this year supply energy to all but St Angela’s College following a competitive tender process.

Minister O’Keeffe said: “It is clear from these savings figures that by applying logical, commonsense shared services, and procurement practices we can cut millions out of our colleges’ annual expenditure.

“I am pleased that our colleges have responded to my challenge to become more efficient and streamlined, cutting the fat out of their budgets and getting better value for money for the taxpayer.

Minister O’Keeffe has now asked his officials to meet management bodies and the National Public Procurement Operations Unit to discuss ways in which schools and VECs can also find savings and efficiencies by pooling their procurement activities for utilities, supplies and services.

Other collaborative procurement options being examined in colleges are in the areas of insurance, cleaning and facilities management, stationery, auditing and information technology.

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