London, September 9 : Aberdeen City Council in Scotland is planning a blanket ban on 'unauthorised' electrical appliances like toasters and kettles to save money on its multi-million pound electricity bill.
The council, already deep in debt to the tune of 50million pounds, is considering banning such electrical appliances as part of a new financial rescue plan.
It is also said to be considering training courses for its staff so that they can learn to drive more efficiently, and help curb the annual diesel bill of 1.5million pounds.
A report to the councillors reveals that the authority's fuel bill topped 10million pounds last year, including 3.5million pounds for gas and 5.8million pounds for electricity.
"Removal of all non-council kettles, toasters, fridges, fan heaters, and other non-approved appliances from offices and establishments" are among the proposed measures to deal with the financial burden, according to the report.
The council is also considering turning off safety lighting in some buildings and car parks during the night and at weekends, and ditching post-it notes in favour of scrap paper.
"There is an expectation by staff, elected members and the public that reducing our waste of energy and other resources should be a priority," the Telegraph quoted Belinda Miller, the council's head of economic and environmental sustainability, as saying.
Staff members, however, feel that any such action to ban toast, cups of tea, desk fans, etc will be a bad decision.
Mike Middleton, a representative for the GMB union, warned that there are not enough canteen facilities in all council buildings, and banning such items may hit morale.
He said: 'Although we appreciate the need for efficiencies, there may be mixed messages that affect staff morale.'
Opposition Labour councillor Willie Young supported the proposal, saying: "It will get people's backs up - you have to be practical."
Councillor John Stewart, of the ruling Liberal Democrat / SNP coalition, said that nothing had been approved, but was worried that banning toasters and kettles would lead to a demand for council-approved 'replacements'.
He also questioned the proposals to teach staff to drive more efficiently, arguing: "You've got to balance the cost of training against the projected financial savings."