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Local Electricity Bill successfully introduced into Parliament to help ‘empower’ community energy

Image: Viridian Solar/ECO2 Solar.

Image: Viridian Solar/ECO2 Solar.

The Local Electricity Bill has been successfully introduced, following its presentation to government under the Ten Minute Rule yesterday (10 June).

It was unopposed in Parliament, and introduced without a vote. Should it now pass into law, it will allow consumers to purchase energy from local groups, and not just nationally licensed utilities. As such, the new ‘Right to Local Supply’ for energy will allow communities to sell locally generated electricity directly to local households and businesses.

The Bill was presented by its lead sponsor Peter Aldous MP, who said it will help address two great challenges.

“By empowering and enabling new community energy companies to sell energy that they generate directly to local people it will help strengthen local economies. This is urgently needed given the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also accelerate our transition to clean energy, which is critical in avoiding the potential economic and ecological devastation of climate change.”

The Local Electricity Bill was developed by the group Power for People, and has been introduced into Parliament by a cross-party group of 150 MPs. The group called this an “unprecedented number for a Ten Minute Rule Bill”.

Power for People lead a coalition of supportive partners including Community Energy England, Community Energy Wales, Community Energy Scotland, WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB. Additionally, 43 county and local authorities have also pledged their support.

Steve Shaw, director of Power for People, added: “We thank Peter Aldous MP and his cross-party co-sponsors for introducing the Local Electricity Bill and the 150 MPs who have already pledged their support for it.

"If made law, the Bill would unleash the huge potential for new community-owned clean energy infrastructure and for this to boost local economies, jobs, services, and facilities in communities across the country. We call on Parliament and the government to support it.”

Following the success of introducing the Bill into Parliament, it acts like a Presentation Bill. This means that it will not be debated and not become law.

However, it is still a significant milestone for the campaign and for the progression of the Local Electricity Bill.

"This is fine for our purposes as we need to continue building the number of supportive MPs," explained Shaw in a recent blog. "So far 151 MPs, again from a remarkable cross-party basis, have already stated their support for the Bill.

"Our plan is to continue to grow the grass-roots support for the Bill across the country and continue to mobilise and co-ordinate this support, so that MPs are lobbied by their local constituents to support the Bill."

The Bill was originally supposed to go in front of Parliament in April, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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