Hackney Labour helping reduce energy bills for local people

LABOUR-RUN Hackney Council is pressing the Government to support the Local Electricity Bill going through Parliament, which would benefit local energy producers and lower energy bills for local people.

In a Council motion passed by the Labour administration, Hackney is urging the Government to set up a National Community Energy Fund, something which Hackney Labour has already implemented at a local level.

Together with Power for People, a not-for-profit organisation campaigning for the Local Electricity Bill, the Council is bringing pressure to bear to kick start a community energy revolution.

Power for People estimates a Local Electricity Act would result in a twenty-fold increase in renewable community energy generation over 10 years, preventing 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

On top of this, the Local Electricity Bill would help local authorities, like Hackney, sell locally generated renewable energy installed by Hackney Light and Power, a company set up by the Council to tackle the climate emergency.

Revenue generated from Hackney Light and Power could then be re-invested into local decarbonisation schemes.

Hackney Council is already working on encouraging local renewable energy projects along with the innovation of setting up Hackney Light and Power, which is pioneering a programme of solar panels on roofs.

The Council is leading the way in supporting community energy generation schemes through its £300k Community Energy Fund. Hackney Labour is now calling on the Government to do the same and is supporting the Co-operative Party’s call for a £90 million National Community Energy Fund to help deliver 150,000 new community energy owners.

At present local renewable energy generators, such as community energy groups, are unable to sell the energy that they generate to local people because the current energy market and licensing rules often lead to unmanageable local supply costs.

Cllr Mete Coban, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, added: “Making costs proportionate to the scale of a renewable electricity supplier’s operation would create significant opportunities for local companies and community groups to be providers of locally generated renewable electricity directly to local people, businesses and organisations.

“Vitally, this would help lower energy bills for local people. Something which is needed all too much right now.”

Introducing the motion at the January meeting of the Full Council, Cllr Gilbert Smyth said: “The current energy crisis has accelerated the need to expand our renewable energy offer. Enabling new community energy generators to sell energy directly to local people, will help strengthen local economies and unleash the huge potential for new community-owned clean energy infrastructure.

“This will boost local economies, jobs, services and facilities in communities right across this country.”