Local Electricity Bill successfully reintroduced into Parliament

Following years of Campaigning, Power for People’s Local Electricity Bill has been reintroduced into Parliament.

On 10th June, Peter Aldous MP presented Power for People’s Local Electricity Bill to the House of Commons, paving the way for the bill’s successful reintroduction into Parliament.

Since 2017 Power for People have been campaigning to amend UK laws which stand in the way of developing local scale renewable energy generation and supply. Only 30% of electricity generated in the UK is renewable[1], and on the current trajectory we will fall far short of the carbon budget commitments made in the Paris Agreement. A massive boost to the renewables industry is needed, and the Local Electricity Bill could provide just that.

The Problem…

In the UK today it is virtually impossible for local renewable energy generators to supply directly to their communities. Only suppliers licensed by Ofgem are allowed to sell electricity to end customers; however, to do this companies must comply with network codes and agreements which are both technically and financially prohibitive. For the prospective supplier, setup costs alone would amount to many hundreds of thousands of pounds. It is therefore no surprise that nationwide energy suppliers are the only valid competitors in the British energy market.

Even the hopeful wave of non-profit energy companies supported by local councils are falling like dominoes. The council owned Bristol Energy is the latest victim, sold off after announcing losses of £32.5 million[2]. Nottingham’s own Robin Hood Energy is being kept afloat by extensive council support. With the ‘Big Six’ energy companies raking in hundreds of millions in profits, it is clearly time for a redistribution of power.

The Solution…

Power for People are demanding that the cost and complexity of being a licensed electricity supplier be proportionate to the size of the supply operation. In Germany similar legislation has led to the establishment of around 1000 locally owned supply companies, almost all of which are renewable.

Peter Aldous’ speech in the Commons revolved around the need for economic recovery and rebuilding communities in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, and how local electricity generation and supply has the potential to boost local economies as well as tackling carbon emissions.

Not only would this reduce the need for energy imports and renewables subsidies, but would create skilled local jobs, and potentially reduce the cost of renewable energy to customers. It would open doors for cooperatively owned energy generation and supply. Currently community organisations and local businesses are paid around 5p/kWh for the energy they export, whereas the average cost to the customer is around 18p/kWh. By cutting out the middleman, small scale generators would receive 100% of the income from consumers, keeping money circulating in local communities.

Although the bill has now been introduced into parliament, the Community Energy Revolution cannot succeed without support. So far Power for People have brought a cross-party group of 182 MPs on board, up from 152 MPs last week. This helped to ensure that the bill’s Parliamentary re-introduction was unopposed, but Power for People estimate that they will need 400 MP’s to support the bill to get it through parliament. Visit https://powerforpeople.org.uk/the-local-electricity-bill/ to see which MP’s support the bill – there are letter templates on the website to make contacting your own MP about the campaign as easy as possible.

Sign up with Power for People here to stay informed about ways to take action on this bill and other campaigns in support of the UK’s transition to 100% renewable energy.

Read Peter Aldous MP’s full speech online at https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2020-06-10/debates/FED309C1-1522-470E-9E17-17AEA6A854F4/LocalElectricity or see the highlights at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waNfiKSqDzQ&feature=youtu.be

[1] https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/2018/03/renewable-energy-in-the-united-kingdom

[2] https://www.lgcplus.com/finance/bristol-to-sell-off-its-energy-company-04-06-2020/