Swansea considering own energy company

Swansea Council is considering introducing a new, arm's length energy company to help cut household and business energy bills across the Welsh city.

With local residents and organisations as its key focus, the socially responsible enterprise would help address the challenge of high gas and electric charges faced by Swansea residents and the difficulty faced by local businesses securing good energy deals. Although a small number exist in England, it would be the first such council enterprise in Wales.

As part of the considerations, a public consultation throughout July will ask local residents whether they would consider buying energy at a low cost from a local, people-friendly, not-for-profit company.

If backed, it would be able to offer special tariffs for local people, those living with fuel poverty, small and medium-sized businesses and council partner organisations. Surplus funds would be reinvested in local services and energy initiatives.

Andrea Lewis, Swansea Council's cabinet member for homes and energy, said: "The energy market is broken - it's dominated by a small number of big businesses that charge over the odds, lack transparency and offer poor customer service.

"The big six have around 80 per cent of the market - and their normal tariffs are so high that they have significant social consequences which are picked up by the taxpayer through the NHS and local councils. We're working on a possible solution - our own energy company. Our investigation will ask the people of Swansea if they would consider buying energy at a low cost from a local, people-friendly, not-for-profit company."