Campaigners brand London energy company plans ‘whitewash’

Green Party dismisses Sadiq Khan’s proposals as a “blow for Londoners”

Campaigners have slammed plans by Sadiq Khan for a London-wide energy company as a “white label whitewash”.

The London mayor published details today (11 August) of a draft environment strategy, which includes a number of proposals around air pollution, fuel poverty and solar energy.

But critics seized upon the draft strategy’s plans for an energy supply company, called Energy for Londoners.

In his manifesto, when he stood to become London mayor last year, Khan pledged that Energy for Londoners would provide a comprehensive range of energy services.

He also said the company would buy clean energy generated across the city to power Greater London Authority and Transport for London facilities.

But the draft document only commits to “tender for the deliver of an energy supply company”, which has been criticized for falling short of his original plans.

Caroline Russell, who represents the Green Party on the London Assembly described the new proposal as a “blow for Londoners”.

“A publically-owned Energy for Londoners was a brilliant opportunity to make a real difference to Londoners, providing residents, schools, hospitals and businesses with affordable, low carbon energy,’ said Russell.

 “It would also provide a massive opportunity to reinvest profits from the sales revenues in generating more renewable energy and addressing fuel poverty with energy efficiency measures.”

While Laura Hill from the campaign group Switched on London said it was a “white-label whitewash”.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s general election manifesto promised regional energy supply companies if Labour comes to power,” said Hill. “Sadiq could have announced one for London today, but he’s passing the buck.

“Unless Sadiq comes up with a concrete plan for how this ‘white-label whitewash’ can transition to a fully-licensed not-for-profit company as soon as possible, Londoners will consider Sadiq to have broken a key election pledge,’ she added.

But the London mayor’s solar action plan was welcomed by others, including the Solar Trade Association.

The plan includes a new community energy grant scheme and a “reverse” solar auction to help cut costs for Londoners who want to install solar panels on their homes.

“Solar is vital to any green and modern capital city,” said the STA’s head of external affairs, Leonie Greene.

“London is now starting the focussed work it urgently needs to do to catch up on solar, not only with the rest of the UK but with other world cities. However, the Mayor is quite right that national Government needs to provide a better enabling policy framework to support his ambitions – particularly on the tax treatment of rooftop solar.”  

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