Nearly £2 million was added to Swindon Borough Council's energy bill in just one year - despite the amount of energy used remaining largely the same.

In 2022-23, figures from community energy consultancy Box Power, which has conducted a study into how much local authorities across the country have paid for gas and electricity, shows SBC paid just under £3.7 million in 2021-22 for their energy.

But a year later, that cost went up to almost £5.5 million.

It is an increase of £1.7 million - or 46.9 per cent more than the previous year.

Once VAT is added, the total bill paid by Swindon Borough Council in 2022-23 was a whopping £6.9 million.

By comparison, Wiltshire Council paid £7.5 million when VAT was accounted for in 2022-23.

Such a huge hike in what the council has had to pay is one reason why bosses at Euclid Street are desperate to find massive savings in the budget being prepared for 2024-25.

The cabinet member for finance at the authority, Councillor Kevin Small, said: “Our officers work very hard to get the best possible energy prices they can so we keep our costs as low as possible for Swindon taxpayers.

“As Swindon residents know all too well from their own household bills, energy costs have spiralled since the pandemic with global events such as the war in Ukraine contributing to large spikes in the price of gas and electricity.

“Inflation has had a huge impact on our current and future budgets and has added to the many millions of pounds in savings we have to make as a local authority and the difficult decisions we will have to make as councillors about some services as a consequence.

 “This is why we are looking at ways we reduce our energy usage by dimming certain streetlights as it will go some way to offsetting the significant pressure on our budget.”

Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Council paid largely similar average amounts for energy in 2022-23, 35p and 36p respectively per kilowatt hour of energy with VAT added on.

In December, Cllr Small and council leader Councillor Jim Robbins said the council needed to save £32m for its budget even as it goes up from £166m this year, because price inflation such as the hike in energy prices, and staff cost increases, mean just maintaining services will exceed the ability of the council to fund them.