College spends 44% less on waste and cuts through contract fine print

02 December 2014

Earlier this year Tamaki College’s executive officer, Neil McEnteer had no hesitation in handing over the school’s waste contract to Total Utilities for review.  Since his first dealings with the utilities experts in 2012, Neil had seen the college benefit from significant savings across electricity, gas and telecoms bills. He remembers being quietly confident of another good result.

Tamaki College front lawn01

“In a sector where budgets are very tight, it is important keep costs to a minimum,” said Neil. “Every dollar we save is a dollar more we can spend on teaching and learning.

“Unless you are proactive, completely up to date with market information and have read all the fine print, it’s difficult to be sure that you’ve secured the best utilities contracts. Working with Total Utilities has shown us just what can be achieved when you bring in the experts.”

In 2012 Total Utilities cut the college spend on electricity by 12% and then by a further 13% through an early renegotiation in 2014. Acting on their advice, Neil moved the college’s gas supply contract to a new retailer in 2012, reducing annual costs by 13%. To complete the trifecta, Total Utilities renegotiated the school’s telecoms contract at the beginning of 2014, resulting in an overall saving of 29%.

“While we were discussing one of the other contract renewals, I asked for advice on our waste spend. Without realising it, we had allowed our contract to automatically roll over for two consecutive three-year terms. Jonathan Gardiner from Total Utilities took one look at the figures and said we could do way better on the price.”

Waste contracts almost always require 90 days’ notice prior to the renewal date if the customer wants to review pricing. If this opportunity passes, the pricing and contract terms automatically roll over for another three years.

According to expert analyst, Jonathan Gardiner, contract fine print must be checked carefully. Contracts in the waste industry often include permission to pass on increases in inflation, transport costs and tipping charges at short notice on an annual, six monthly or even quarterly basis.

“Currently inflation is low, oil prices have dropped and competition has driven down tipping charges, so if your waste contract has been rolled over for one or more terms, you will almost certainly be paying over the odds,” said Jonathan.

When Total Utilities stepped in to handle the Tamaki College 2014 waste contract review they secured a saving of 44%, and the fine print included in the new contract was quite different.

“Jonathan invested a great deal of effort in making sure that the details worked in our favour,” said Neil. “We are now on a fixed price contract for year one, and will only have inflation-based increases on the contract anniversary in years two and three. This saves us money and takes all the guesswork out of budgeting.”

As an adjunct to the contract renegotiation, Jonathan Gardiner also spent time reviewing the school’s waste management operations on-site. He recommended that their 3m bin, which was being picked up two thirds full twice weekly, should be exchanged for a 4.5m bin emptied once a week.

“When we had a look at the volume of the bin and the weight of rubbish being collected, it become clear that there were efficiencies to be made,” said Jonathan. “At the same time we renegotiated a better rental charge for the bin itself. The end result was a 50% drop in collection charges.”

From the College’s perspective, it is Total Utilities’ proactive, independent approach that ensures they’ll continue to work with the business.

“The team leaves nothing to chance,” Neil concludes. “Their logical, thorough methodology makes the whole process transparent and straightforward.   I feel very confident that they are doing everything possible to get us the best deal.”

Find out more about the waste services that Jonathan and the team at Total Utilities can assist your organisation with.