Portsmouth City Council is to close its would-be energy supply division Victory Energy after it failed to find a buyer.
Last November the council came to the conclusion that it would look to dispose of the company, which it hoped would emulate the success of Bristol and Nottingham council’s Bristol Energy and Robin Hood Energy, prompting what it labelled an “extensive process” to find a buyer.
This followed a shift in the administrative nature of the Portsmouth City Council, which changed from being Conservative-led to Liberal Democrat – as discussed by Stephen Cirell at the time – with the new council deciding against pursuing the project.
But while a number of interested parties came forward, only two made an actual offer. One of those offers was dismissed by the council as it still exposed it to “substantial further financial risk”, and the other party recently withdrew to pursue an alternative investment.
Neither those parties, nor the alternative investment, have been disclosed by Portsmouth City Council.
As a result of that bid’s collapse, the council was left with no other option than to wind the company down, and it has now given notice to Victory’s directors that financial support for all ongoing business operations is to draw to a close.
All nine of the company’s employees have been handed redundancy notices, and the council intends to assist Victory Energy with financial settlements. Victory Energy is to also address all of its existing suppliers and inform them of their position moving forward.
Victory Energy’s closure comes at a tempestuous time for the UK energy retail market, with the make-up of the Big Six set to change significantly amidst heightened M&A activity, while the status of independent suppliers remains perilous.