Khan accused of getting cold feet over energy company plans

Green Party claims the London mayor has not committed enough money to progress

Sadiq Khan has been accused of getting cold feet over his plans to establish a pan-London municipal energy company.

In a blog for the Left Foot Forward website, published yesterday (26 July), Greater London Assembly member Caroline Russell has written plans by the capital’s mayor to set up a not-for-profit energy company are behind schedule.

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 to help Londoners generate more low-carbon energy and increase their energy efficiency, support local and community energy enterprises.

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

However Russell, who represents the Green Party on the assembly, said that the mayor had yet to commit sufficient funds for the feasibility study.

The GLA earmarked £120,000 in its budget earlier this year for the feasibility study into setting up Energy for Londoners.

The Greens earmarked £1.5 million in their proposed amendment to GLA budget based on the sums spent by Nottingham City Council on its equivalent study for setting up its Robin Hood Energy company.

She wrote: “The mayor didn’t budge on his budget and the investments so far haven’t been anywhere near enough to get a company up and running.”

Russell told Utility Week that the level of spending so far indicated that the GLA will opt for a “white label” offer using an existing supplier rather than establishing its own fully licensed operator.

But using an existing supplier would not deliver as many benefits as a fully licensed supplier, she said: “A fully-licensed company allows them much more control. If they go for a white label company they are working for another company that has to make profit. A fully licensed company would have control of a tariff and any profits could be reinvested in making energy more affordable and retrofitting homes.”

She also said that the results of a feasibility study into whether Energy for Londoners should be set up as a fully licensed energy supplier were overdue.

Khan had originally said that the study would be out in the spring, but Russell said its publication had pushed back to coincide with the release of the mayoral environment strategy, which is due next month.

In the blog, she writes: “The mayor is getting cold feet. He’s delaying instead of delivering on his promise to get Londoners the best deal for their energy.”

Responding to Russell’s blog, a spokesperson for the mayor said: “The mayor is committed to increasing energy efficiency and has ambitious plans to make London a zero carbon city by 2050. Plans for Energy for Londoners will be announced in due course.”