BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 09 April '16

Campaigners call for a public renewable energy company that rivals the Big Six

A report released yesterday (08 April) by the New Economics Foundation and Switched On London makes the case for a publicly owned energy company in the capital that presents an affordable, democratic and environmentally sustainable alternative to the Big Six.

Similar schemes exist elsewhere in the UK: Nottingham and Bristol city councils have launched their own fully licensed energy supply companies.

Public energy

According to the report, Switched on London: Democratic energy in the capital, Londoners could save up to 25% on their current energy bills. Similar schemes, such as Robin Hood Energy in Nottingham, have led to direct benefits for households – particularly those in fuel poverty.

One of the Switched on London campaign’s core proposals is for the capital to be powered purely by renewables. Through solar energy alone, the new company could catalyse enough clean power generation for a fifth of London’s electricity needs.

‘The Big Six have left Londoners with extortionate bills and dirty energy. Our poll shows that the overwhelming majority of voters of every political persuasion believe that cheaper, cleaner and more democratic energy is possible, and the pathway lies with public energy.’

MIKA MINIO-PALUELLO
Platform London and Switched on London

Ending fuel poverty

An opinion poll released alongside the report reveals Londoners’ anger over high energy bills, with two-thirds saying they hesitate to heat their homes due to high bills and 87% saying they feel they’re paying too much for their energy.

‘We’re disgusted to find out rip-off energy bills forced two-thirds of Londoners to restrict their heating during winter. Boris had the power to dramatically cut bills and eradicate fuel poverty across the capital by setting up a public energy company, but failed to do so. Hopefully, London’s next mayor will take this crisis seriously.’

LAURA HILL
Switched on London

77% want a public energy company in London that reduces the cost of energy bills and invests in local energy. A new, public company would bring decisions about energy supply closer to the people who depend on it.

A failed experiment

Three-quarters of Londoners say they want a mayor who will lower bills, and there’s cross-party support for a mayor who will take action to cut bills.

Voters of all political persuasions are worried about high bills and back a not-for-profit public energy company that cuts bills and invests in renewables. This ranged from 77.4% of Lib Dem voters to 85.5% of UKIP voters.

‘Providing heat and electricity to our homes and workplaces is one of the most basic and vital functions of our economy. No household should be unable to afford a basic level of energy anywhere in the country, let alone in our capital city.

‘The privatisation of our energy system is an experiment that has failed – and it is households and businesses who have paid the price. Collectively we have the technology and resources to provide affordable and clean electricity for everyone – we need a new energy system for London to make it a reality.’

STEPHEN DEVLIN
Economist at the New Economics Foundation

The full results of the opinion poll are available here. Click here for the full report.