Wirral Council has announced plans to become the latest local authority to set up its own energy company and will likely seek an established licensed supplier to offer gas and electricity under its own brand, dubbed ‘Wirral Energy’.
A report released by the council has outlined the council’s plans to tackle fuel poverty in the area, currently affecting more than 10% of Wirral residents, through the new local energy provider.
This is intended to provide competitively priced energy supplies and will be supported by a programme of smart meter installations.
Of the three options identified in the report, the council has identified its preferred energy market entry to become a White Label Provider, over being a fully licensed operator or Licence Lite supplier, a strategy currently being pursued by London mayor Sadiq Khan.
Under this model, the local authority won’t hold a supply license itself but will partner with a licensed supplier that already possesses an energy license together with the relevant statutory and compliance infrastructure.
Councillor Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, said: “Fuel poverty is a growing issue throughout the UK, with people finding it more and more difficult to properly heat their homes and afford the rising costs of gas and electricity.
“We must do everything in our power to support our residents to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives. This report proposes we create a new energy company, which would – at no cost to the tax payer – put us in a position to sell gas and electricity to residents at a much lower rate.
“I am delighted we have been able to produce such an imaginative proposal to help every resident in our borough save money on their energy bills.”
The council will now seek its Cabinet’s approval to assemble a project team to set up an energy company as recommended. Officers will carry out a procurement exercise to find a licensed supplier to take on the contract.
The first phase of the project will seek to supply energy to residents before a second stage will encompass commercial energy for businesses, council assets, schools and colleges.
The council added that a longer term aspiration of the supply offer will see the council develop and establish a Liverpool city region “Fully Licenced Operator” arrangement similar to Nottingham City Council’s Robin Hood Energy