Bristol City Council to put Bristol Energy up for sale

Bristol City Council has announced it is to put Bristol Energy up for sale.

The cabinet met yesterday (2 June) and agreed to sell the local authority-owned company, which was founded in 2015.

The current mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees said the company has faced unprecedented challenges since being established by his predecessor.

Earlier this year, the council commissioned Ernst & Young to conduct a full and thorough assessment of Bristol Energy’s structure and future business viability.

The council will now seek a buyer for the company.

‘Establishing an energy company was always a high risk for the council, and one which has brought continued challenges,’ said Mr Rees.

‘The energy market is dominated by well-established far larger energy providers. Having inherited a failing company where £15 million had already been spent or earmarked for spend, we were faced with a choice.

‘We could have closed the company then or tried to develop a business strategy that would succeed, both in tackling fuel poverty in Bristol and delivering a financial return for the city.  This proved to be impossible in such a volatile marketplace.

‘We have tried to work in the best interests of the city and Bristol Energy customers but been unable to divulge the challenge we were tackling as this would have further disadvantaged us against competitors.’

The council’s deputy mayor and cabinet lead for companies, Cllr Craig Cheney said: ‘Selling Bristol Energy is in the best interests for the council and city tax payers.

‘We have worked tirelessly to try and turn the company into something that is not only profitable but also offers more to citizens in terms of social benefit as this was always the vision when we took it on. Projects supporting this vision include buying energy directly from over 54 renewable generators, most of them community owned, and the Bristol Energy Fuel Good Fund which supports Fuel Poverty.’

Photo Credit – Bristol City Council

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Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone

journalist

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