Bristol Energy vows to support community

Electricity pylon
Image caption Bristol City Council took the decision to set up the company in 2010

A municipal energy firm is promising to reinvest its profits back into the community.

Bristol Energy, which provides gas and electricity, was set up by the city council and is its only shareholder.

Although the social benefits of the company will centre on Bristol, its tariffs will go on sale through the United Kingdom.

Future projections of the firm's profitability have been disputed by some councillors.

Figures questioned

Bristol's elected mayor George Ferguson said he is in the process of switching his home energy requirement to the new company.

Asked if the council would follow Mr Ferguson's lead and switch its energy provider, a spokesman said: "Bristol Energy does not currently supply the council, but will be taking part in the next competitive tendering processes for the supply contracts."

Bristol City Council owns the company's shares, and said that any profits will be returned to it, making a return by 2019.

But UKIP councillor for Hengrove, Michael Frost, said there was nothing to substantiate or suggest how the authority would make any money from the venture.

"I'm a bit concerned that anybody looking at this - and talking 35% profit - I mean how many businesses make 35% profit?" he said.

Bristol Energy's managing director, Peter Haigh, said the company hoped to set itself away from other suppliers "as a force for social good".

"We have to pay energy bills anyway, so why not pay them to a company that will spend the profits on local services and projects?," he said.

Bristol City Council took the decision to set up the company in 2010.

Last February it produced its business plan, which was formally approved by the council's cabinet in July 2015 and it was given the green light to start trading in December.

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