Mayor 'poised to backtrack on radical energy plan'

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One of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s most radical manifesto ideas to help cash-strapped Londoners pay for their heating faces the axe, it is claimed.

Khan vowed to explore setting up a fully-licensed, independent energy company to bulk buy power and sell it back to Londoners before taking City Hall in May 2016.

But that plan, part of his much-delayed Energy for London strategy launch, is now expected to be ditched or made a “white label” – or face of – an existing energy firm, it is claimed.

The energy industry is dominated by the six largest suppliers who are repeatedly accused of overcharging customers.

Khan hoped to lower bills for households and businesses through the not-for-profit low-carbon plan, but a partnership model with a traditional supplier striving to make profits could threaten that aim.

Emma Hughes of campaign group Platform told the Standard: “This has gone from a genuine plan to help London out of fuel poverty to essentially a branding exercise.

“If the GLA does not have full control on tariffs, it will be a case of negotiating and not necessarily getting the best price.

“People distrust energy companies but if it’s not a direct relationship that won’t improve. The energy market is monopolised and this is a missed opportunity to break that monopoly.

“The low carbon economy is a big part of our future. Only a full license London company allows us to build skills, expertise and jobs in this crucial sector.” 

The Energy for Londoners strategy, which includes wider sustainability plans, is expected to be unveiled to much fanfare next month. It had been expected in the spring, before election, terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower tragedy delayed its launch.

City Hall declined to comment on the specifics of the strategy.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor is committed to increasing energy efficiency and has ambitious plans to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050. Plans for Energy for Londoners will be announced in due course.”

One energy source said an option would be to “white label” the service using an existing council energy company, like Nottingham, potentially robbing London of jobs and investment. 

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