Latest Public Sector News


Bristol City Council makes ‘reckless’ £9m investment into clean energy firm

Bristol City Council is to put a further £9m into its loss-making energy firm in a decision criticised as “reckless” and a “staggering waste of public money.”

The council has already invested £27m into Bristol Energy and now plans to inject nearly £9m over the next five years, along with a five-year business plan for the firm in a bid to tackle fuel poverty.

But the company posted financial losses totalling £19.6m in its first two years of trading and has come under fierce criticism from some councillors.

Green councillor Jerome Thomas called the investment a “staggering waste of public money” from the perspective of the average Bristol resident, whilst Lib Dem councillor Tim Kent has questioned the continued use of public money to bail out the firm.

Deputy mayor for finance Craig Cheney defended the energy firm which he said had seen its customer numbers grow significantly despite “extremely challenging market conditions.”

At the authority’s cabinet meeting, the five-year business strategy and spending plan was approved which Chesney said will enable the firm to “adapt and thrive” under new leadership and management.

Bristol Energy was set up in 2016 to provide ethically-sourced low-cost energy – with the original aim of returning a profit by 2019, a date which has now been pushed back until 2021.

The five-year plan prioritises doubling the social value created for Bristol, supporting the city’s bid to meet its carbon neutral targets, and to achieve profitability as soon as possible.

Last week the city council voted to move forward in the search for private sector partners to work on future energy projects in Bristol as part of the £1bn City Leap initiative.

Chesney added: “Fuel poverty is crippling and for many in Bristol the choice is stark; eat or heat. The support we have provided Bristol Energy to date reflects our commitment to tackle fuel poverty whilst also introducing cleaner energy to the market.”


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

What came first, the bad customer or the bad customer service?

17/03/2020What came first, the bad customer or the bad customer service?

Source: PSE Feb/March 20 Stephen Bahooshy, Senior Commissioning Manager and Nicky Selwyn, Carer and Service User Group Chair, Croydon Council.   Here it is... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >