Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Portsmouth council's Victory Energy firm 'costing 18K a week'

Portsmouth City Council offices Image copyright N Chadwick
Image caption Victory Energy was approved under Portsmouth City Council's previous Conservative administration

A council-owned energy company is costing £18,000 per week while chiefs decide what to do with the firm.

Figures obtained by the BBC show 13 people are still employed by Portsmouth City Council's Victory Energy, including the chief executive.

In August the council voted to drop the firm at a cost of up to £3.5m. It later had agreed to review its decision.

A solution is yet to be agreed but one option may be to sell it, the council said.

"The value and saleability of the business depends on the strength of the senior management team and its core staff," a Portsmouth City Council spokesman said.

"Without these people in place we would have little to sell.

"If we wound down Victory Energy to a point where it was fatally damaged, we would be closing off important options."

He said the company had been on a "managed wind-down" since August with staff costs "continuously reducing".

The authority's previous Conservative administration approved the contract to set it up but it has yet to supply any energy.

It was initially claimed the company could generate up to £5m annual profit after the initial investment of £8.1m.

However, an independent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers said that required 144,000 customers to sign up.

It added the council would have had to invest £19m over four years.

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