Energy for London: Thinktank calls for city energy company

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has called on the next London Mayor to set up a publicly-run energy company for London.

The IPPR says the new energy company could perform a similar role to Transport for London by managing demand and driving behaviour change

The IPPR says the new energy company could perform a similar role to Transport for London by managing demand and driving behaviour change

The municipal gas and electricity supplier – Energy for London – would help reduce fuel poverty, accelerate decarbonisation and expand demand management, IPPR said in a report, which set out a plan for the new mayor to address the environmental challenges facing the city.

As well as performing a supplier role, Energy for London would provide expertise and financial support to homes and businesses; develop and promote solar, district heating and demand management strategies; and manage the energy needs of the Greater London Authority (GLA).

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It would perform a similar role to Transport for London, which has the economic and political power to “manage demand and drive transport behaviours” while recycling its revenues into infrastructure investment and services.

London faces many of the same challenges as the rest of the country. Gas bills are on average the highest in the UK, and consumers are less engaged in the energy market with the lowest levels of switching of all regions in the UK for gas and below the national average for electricity, IPPR said.

Additionally, those in private rented accommodation – who make up a large proportion of London residents – have the highest levels of fuel poverty.

Consumers tend to have higher levels of trust in local authorities than in energy companies, IPPR said, meaning that the GLA is “well-placed to establish its own energy company”.

“Setting up [Energy for London] is something that the next mayor can do in their first term as an important early step towards ensuring London’s long-term energy resilience, as part of an iterative process that responds to changing local and national priorities,” the report said.

Municipal energy companies were recently set up by city councils in both Bristol and Nottingham. Robin Hood Energy was launched in Nottingham in September and Bristol Energy in November.

Tom Grimwood

This article first appeared in edie's sister title Utility Week


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