Hackney begins work on council-run energy company

Cllr Jon Burke (left) and Mayor Philip Glanville (centre) are spearheading Hackney Council’s attempt to create their own energy company. Pic: Hackney Labour

Residents could be facing cheaper bills after  Hackney Council began the process of building its own energy company. 

Mayor Philip Glanville promised to set up a publicly-owned municipal energy provider, if re-elected in last week’s local election. 

In his manifesto Glanville said the scheme would use council-owned residential roof space for solar panels, working to “offer significantly cheaper, clean energy to residents and generate income for the creation of a ‘social dividend’ from which all of the borough’s residents will benefit.” 

On Friday Jon Burke, council member for Energy, said the scheme was underway, and Hackney had started working with “procurement and legal officers” to “avoid the issues around procurement that effected Bristol.” 

Bristol city council, who had invested £6.7million in a similar project, were forced to award an energy contract to British Gas last week, due to rules which said the contract had to go through a ‘tendering process’; in which institutions invite private investors to bid on large projects. 

Although plans are in the preliminary stages, the council is confident they will be able to avoid similar issues, and successfully provide “residents with cheaper and greener energy options”.  

When asked for a progress update, Councillor Burke told EastLondonLines: “As we are in the very early stages of building our energy model we do not have a completion date yet.” 

In addition to benefitting residents financially, the scheme is part of Glanville’s wider plan to create a “greener Hackney”.  

Environmental concerns and promises were prominent in Glanville’s mayoral manifesto, the Labour representative claiming he would push the borough toward: “meeting the obligations of the UK100 Agreement which commits the local authority to utilising 100% renewable energy by 2050.” 

Hackney is already relatively green in comparison to the rest of London, using the fifth lowest amount of energy between 2005-2015 of London’s 32 boroughs.

According to data released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (DBEIS), Lewisham was the twelfth greenest borough, Croydon twenty-eighth, and Tower Hamlets thirtieth. 

Figures release by the DBEIS measure energy consumption in Gigawatt Hours (GWh). One Gigawatt is the energy required to power approximately 725,000 homes, or 100 million LED light bulbs. 

‘Social dividend’ refers to the money made from a publically owned enterprise, in this case the profits from the new energy company, which would belong, in part, to the people of Hackney. 

Full rankings of London boroughs by energy consumption: 

  1. Barking and Dagenham 
  2. Kingston upon Thames 
  3. Sutton 
  4. Merton 
  5. Hackney 
  6. Waltham Forest 
  7. Richmond upon Thames 
  8. Haringey 
  9. Harrow 
  10. Hammersmith and Fulham 
  11. Islington 
  12. Lewisham 
  13. Redbridge 
  14. City of London 
  15. Bexley 
  16. Havering 
  17. Greenwich 
  18. Kensington and Chelsea 
  19. Wandsworth 
  20. Brent 
  21. Lambeth 
  22. Southwark 
  23. Hounslow 
  24. Newham 
  25. Bromley 
  26. Enfield 
  27. Camden 
  28. Croydon 
  29. Ealing 
  30. Tower Hamlets 
  31. Barnet 
  32. Hillingdon 
  33. Westminster 

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