Bristol City Council is reportedly looking to sell off its energy business – Bristol Energy – after warning the local authority was set to lose £80m in income.
According to Sky News, the local authority has appointed advisers to begin a process of finding a buyer for the energy firm’s customer book.
Environment Journal approached Bristol City Council for comment and in response, a spokesman confirmed that Ernst and Young has been commissioned to provide ‘professional advice to the council by undertaking a full and thorough assessment of Bristol Energy’s structure and future business viability’.
‘A key objective is to mitigate the extent of any additional funding requirement from the council beyond the existing agreed funding envelope,’ added the spokesman.
Bristol Energy is one of the largest council-owned energy companies in the country, second only to Nottingham City Council’s Robin Hood Energy.
In March, Bristol Energy announced that finance director and managing director, Marek Majewicz had left the business.
In a statement issued at the time, the company said it will continue to operate under the leadership of managing director Allan Booth alongside the senior leadership team.
The reports of a possible sale also come just days after the Bristol mayor Marvin Rees wrote to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak and warned him of a possible £80m loss expected from the local authority’s commercial and regulated income during the current lockdown.
This longer-term loss is in addition to the expected £29m cost of Bristol City Council’s response to Covid-19.
‘We’ll continue to work hard to sustain this frontline response, but we’re mindful of the prominent role we could be playing in supporting the economic recovery, helping our communities and businesses get back on their feet,’ said Mr Rees.
‘Councils like Bristol cannot lead the local efforts with one arm tied behind their backs. The government package so far is wholly inadequate and disappointing given the commitment to provide councils with the resources required during this crisis.’
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