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Swansea City Council to consider going into the energy business

Swansea City Council could become the latest local authority to go into the energy business and set up its own company for local residents.

The council has launched a public consultation, which will run throughout July and ask local residents whether they would consider buying energy at a low cost from a local, people-friendly, not-for-profit company.

If the public feedback is positive, a detailed business case will be drawn up for the setting up the company. If viable, the company could launch within two years.

The city’s new energy company would be set up and wholly owned by Swansea Council as an arm’s length enterprise at no cost to the taxpayer.

It would be the first such council enterprise in Wales although a small number exist in England, like Bristol Energy and Nottingham City Council’s Robin Hood Energy.

The council’s cabinet member for homes and energy, Cllr Andrea Lewis, said: ‘The energy market is broken – it’s dominated by a small number of big businesses that charge over the odds, lack transparency and offer poor customer service.

‘The Big Six have around 80% of the market – and their normal tariffs are so high that they have significant social consequences which are picked up by the taxpayer through the NHS and local councils.

‘We’re working on a possible solution – our own energy company.

‘Our investigation will ask the people of Swansea if they would consider buying energy at a low cost from a local, people-friendly, not-for-profit company.”

It would be able to offer special tariffs for local people, those living with fuel poverty, small and medium-sized businesses and council partner organisations.

The council said surplus funds would be reinvested in local services and energy initiatives.

Cllr Lewis added: ‘We’ll only go ahead if we know there is an appetite in Swansea for us to offer this service and for that we need to be sure that people would consider being customers.

‘I hope that the people and businesses across Swansea take part in our consultation.’

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