Portsmouth drop Victory Energy - Our response

  • Portsmouth Council has decided not to go ahead with Victory Energy, its proposed municipal energy company. Our Managing Director Peter Haigh responds.

As one of just two fully-licenced Council-owned energy companies in the UK, and a passionate advocate for public ownership, it’s disappointing to see Victory Energy cease before it’s even started. A municipal energy company can benefit residents and also provide a new way of making money – at a time when all Councils are seeing their budgets squeezed.

It also flies against public opinion.

A 2017 poll by the Legatum Institute and Populus found that 77% of people support the nationalisation of electricity and gas.

Of course it requires significant initial investment from the Council, but the rewards can be significant. At Bristol Energy, everything we have received to get us up and running and to scale, will paid back with interest. And we will start paying back to the city by 2021.

More than 78,000 people have chosen to join us, for a better deal and because we are building something that can and will support local communities.

David Hall, a visiting professor at the Public Services International Research Unit of the University of Greenwich and an expert on the subject, cites research done Europe-wide that showed public sector companies to be 20%-30% lower in price than private companies. In the UK he concluded that energy bills could be reduced by £120 per household – that’s more than a 10% slash on the average household bill.

So can publicly-owned energy companies really challenge the Big Six in the UK?

Absolutely! In the few short years that we have been in business, we’ve already saved our customers over £10m, we’re working with the city to help eliminate fuel poverty and we actively championed the price cap to help those that have been ripped off for years.

For us it’s about focusing on the value of localism. People care about their community, about their wellbeing, and about keeping things local. Energy suppliers can play a part in that. It’s not about competition, it’s just putting people first.