Economy and Infrastructure

29.06.18

Planned council-owned energy firm could drastically cut bills in Wales first

A “pioneering” proposal is being considered by Swansea Council for the creation of an energy firm wholly owned by the authority – which, while not innovative in England, would be the first of its kind in Wales.

If the proposals go through, it would see the formation of a not-for-profit energy company based in the city with local residents as its focus. Its aim would be to challenge the gas and electric prices of the Big Six to cut bills for local residents and businesses.

The council has launched a public consultation and, if supported, a detailed business case will be drawn up. The company could be set up within two years if viable.

Cllr Andrea Lewis, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for homes and energy, said: “The energy market is broken – it's dominated by a small number of big businesses that charge over the odds, lack transparency and offer poor customer service.”

The Big Six dominate around 80% of the market, she added, and their high tariffs have “significant” social consequences, with the taxpayer picking up the bill.

Lewis continued: “Our investigation will ask the people of Swansea if they would consider buying energy at a low cost from a local, people-friendly, not-for-profit company."

“We'll only go ahead if we know there is an appetite in Swansea for us to offer this service and for that we need to be sure that people would consider being customers. I hope that the people and businesses across Swansea take part in our consultation.”

The proposals come as a major tidal energy project – the £1.3bn Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon – was recently cancelled on cost grounds.

Top: leighcol via iStock 

 

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