Local Electricity Bill – latest news
Thank you all who wrote to your MP last month on the ‘Empowering Community Energy Schemes’ Parliamentary debate!
This was a 90 minute debate organised to promote the Local Electricity Bill. It was held in Westminster Hall and so was only to discuss the issue, not hold a vote on the Bill itself.
Despite the short notice, the turnout was strong: 15 MPs. Usually at debates like this there are around 5. MPs from all parties spoke in favour of the Bill as key to unblocking community energy and pushed the Energy Minister, Greg Hands, to meet with the Bill’s sponsors to find a way forward towards enactment.
The Minister, in his response at the end, reaffirmed the government’s support for the Bill’s “broad intentions” and committed to meeting with the Bill’s sponsors to discuss a way forward. This commitment was the primary aim of organising the debate, so another useful step forward was achieved.
The Minister also said that, for now, the government is not willing to implement the Bill, despite the ever-building public and Parliamentary support. Steve Shaw, of Power for People, said, ‘His reasons were spurious, and I shall be deconstructing them shortly via a formal, open letter and in updated briefings to MPs. Despite his claim that powers and flexibilities exist within the energy system, the stark fact remains that no community energy scheme supplies, or has ever supplied, power directly to local customers and UK community energy generation has seen no growth for 6 years.’
285 MPs now support the Bill, including 115 Conservatives and 104 Labour. Power for People’s target is 326, i.e. over half the Commons. 101 local authorities are now on board too, with our target 167, i.e. over half. We must press on.
This progress is only possible because of the support of organisations like Green Christian helping to promote the Bill and people like you lobbying their MPs to support it. So thank you for your support and for believing in it.
The debate, which is more inspiring than you might think, can be watched here.