Sadiq’s energy plan: a good step, but what about the cost of living crisis?

Today, Labour Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan announced a plan for Energy For Londoners: a new public company to invest in renewable generation across the city. Here’s our response…

Sadiq Khan’s ‘Energy for Londoners’ plan is welcome – support for community energy and a solar strategy are important. But it’s lacking a social element, and could potentially end up similar to Boris’s existing Licence Lite plan.

A Labour mayor’s energy strategy should also tackle fuel poverty, ensure families stay warm and cut the cost of energy for all Londoners.

High fuel bills form a large part of the cost-of-living crisis in our city. Millions of cash-strapped Londoners who step out of cold homes into polluted air struggle with a broken energy system. Everybody is angry about high bills – the 10% of Londoners in fuel poverty and the middle classes.

A public company should have a direct remit to tackle fuel poverty, as well as drive down emissions. In challenging the Big Six, a new public supply company could innovate for Londoners by developing progressive pricing mechanisms and ambitious energy efficiency schemes.

Robin Hood Energy – launched this autumn by Nottingham City Council – has demonstrated that a city-run energy supply company can offer cheaper electricity and gas to local residents. Our Power in Scotland is about to go live – owned by councils, housing associations and community energy.

This could be replicated in London – with the GLA playing a central role in making it happen.

Energy for Londoners should sell electricity and heat to London households, not only to TFL and public institutions. By acting as a supplier, and offering cheaper fuel bills, it can make a tangible difference to the lives of all Londoners.

This is both realistic and transformative – Energy for Londoners could bring together the green agenda with a social agenda.

We at Switched on London think Energy for Londoners should provide cheaper, cleaner and more democratic energy to Londoners, by

  • Copy Nottingham’s model for a city-run supply company, including offering a cheaper tariff for London residents.
  • Invest in retrofitting homes, and developing a London-specific energy efficiency solution to keeping old (e.g. Victorian) homes warm.
  • Have more ambitious clean energy targets and invest in clean energy systems both inside and outside London – e.g. offshore wind
  • Become a flagship municipal energy company, that runs public-public partnerships with other cities globally
  • Be democratically accountable and reflective of London’s diversity, including through its board and direct democracy

See more on Switched On London’s proposal for people-powered energy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *