Bristol City Council has agreed to sell its energy company, after it faced what the council described as “unprecedented challenges” since it was set up. The sale of Bristol Energy was agreed during a closed cabinet session on Tuesday. The company posted losses of £32.5m, despite the council committing £36.5m, prompting demands for an inquiry from opposition parties last week. Current Bristol mayor Marvin Rees (Lab) said the company, which was founded in 2015, has faced “unprecedented challenges” since being established by his predecessor George Ferguson (Lib Dem). Earlier this year, the council commissioned Ernst & Young to conduct a full and thorough assessment of Bristol Energy’s structure and future business viability. Bristol Energy’s sale follows the attempted sale of Portsmouth City Council’s energy company Victory Energy, which was forced to close last August after failing to attract a buyer. Last month, Nottingham City Council reported its venture, Robin Hood Energy, had made a £23m loss, and the council has appointed accountants to review the company. However, the company has just submitted a bid to the council to continue supplying gas and electricity until 2024, having already been the supplier since 2017.
Local Government Chronicle 4th June 2020
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