Hackney Council has announced plans to launch its own renewable-focused energy company.
The council said it will go “beyond” the pioneering work of other municipal companies such as Robin Hood Energy, to “ensure that financial risk is limited”.
It will also prioritise the supply and generation of renewable energy. It said in its announcement: “Hackney’s energy company will help answer the alarming calls of scientists to respond to the global warming crisis as part of its commitment to securing 100 per cent clean energy across all of its functions by 2050.”
An estimated 9,700 households in Hackney suffer from fuel poverty. The council said it is in a strong position to make “strategic decisions” to assist vulnerable residents.
Initial plans were approved this month by the cabinet, developing on the council’s manifesto commitment to create a municipal energy company.
Further information on the plans for a council-run energy company will be released soon, and the council hopes customers will be able to register their interest in the company in 2019.
Councillor Jon Burke – cabinet member for energy, sustainability and community services – said: “In the face of limited, and often retrograde, central government action, Hackney is joining a movement across local government that is helping to transform the energy system from one underpinned by fossil fuels, to one characterised by clean and extremely low-carbon sources of energy.
“It is our aim to protect residents and the environment we live in. By ensuring there is another publicly-owned, publicly-accountable energy company in the marketplace, we believe we can achieve these goals while placing reputational pressure on the dominant players of the energy world, driving change more broadly.”
Nottingham Council was the first to launch its own company – Robin Hood Energy – in 2015, closely followed by Bristol Council. These are currently the only fully-licensed council-backed energy companies.
Other councils around the UK – including Doncaster, Sussex, Southampton and Liverpool – have also launched their own local energy suppliers, some of which have entered into white label agreements with Robin Hood Energy.
Some have suffered financial strife. In August, Portsmouth Council decided to scrap the council-owned energy firm Victory Energy before it became operational, at a cost of at least £2.5 million.
In the same month, Bristol Energy announced an increase to its standard variable tariff for the first time in its history due to “increased uncertainty”.