Stephen Cirell: Over past few weeks, the first local authority owned energy services company, Robin Hood Energy, has been sold by the Council to Centrica for an undisclosed sum. The second such company created by Bristol has also moved on both its domestic and commercial customers, believing the market to be impossible. Where does this leave the notion that local government has a role to play in local energy supply? The requirement to purchase energy well in advance in order to secure the best prices is really problematic for small entrants to the market. This fact and a downturn in market prices caused the Council to have to meet losses that had not been predicted. Bristol will attract more credit from the local government community in the fact of its disposal of Bristol Energy to a company with shared values. Together Energy, which is now part owned by Warrington Borough Council, has as its aim the eradication of fuel poverty and the operation of its enterprise on good social values, but at low costs and tight margins. If so, it will no doubt carry on the work of its predecessor, whereas it must be unlikely that this will happen for Robin Hood’s customers.
Current 29th Sept 2020 read more »