Update on the Local Electricity Bill
The Local Electricity Bill is
Power for People is attempting to get a new Bill passed into law (The Local Electricity Bill), which would encourage and enable the local supply of electricity. There is no doubt that local electricity supply is insufficiently supported by the current legal and regulatory regime. It is fiendishly difficult to achieve the licence required under the Electricity Act 1989 to sell electricity and gas directly to consumers.
Steve Shaw of Power for the People sent us this message:
Radio 4 Coverage
Last week I was on BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox community energy feature. This happened because of the Parliamentary debate (see below) that we’d organised for the following day. Here’s the link to the download: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000xdq9
Having community energy and our campaign on national radio is a major step and a good example of the spiral effect that building grass-roots and Parliamentary support is bringing.
‘Enabling Community Energy’ Parliamentary Debate
The following day (1st July) there was a 90 minute Backbench Business Debate in Parliament titled ‘Enabling Community Energy’, organised by us and led by three of our champion MPs: Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democrat), Peter Aldous (Conservative) and Ben Lake (Plaid Cymru). These debates are high profile affairs and excellent ways in building Parliamentary interest and wider public awareness. A relevant government Minister must always attend and respond.
15 MPs spoke from all major parties and UK nations, which was an excellent turnout – thank you if you helped mobilise for this result. Each MP backed our campaign and largely read out the briefing that we’d prepared for them. Most also gave good examples of community energy schemes that are thriving, or struggling, in their constituencies. Then Labour’s Shadow Energy Minister, Dr Alan Whitehead MP, spoke and gave Labour’s support to the Bill and pressed the government to back it – this was a fantastic step. Finally, responding on behalf of the government, the Minister, Amanda Solloway MP, said of the Bill that the government, “agreed with its broad intentions”, but not the detail. We knew this, but having this stated on the Parliamentary record is a significant step forward. We can now push harder on having meetings with relevant government officials in order to thrash out the details.
We’ll have a highlights video edit up on our YouTube channel soon, but it’s a big job and taking a while to create because of the long length of the debate.
Also many of the MPs who spoke quoted from the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee’s recent Community Energy inquiry. Having this evidence-based and respected Parliamentary body do such work was very valuable. Here’s their subsequent letter to the Secretary of State that summarises their key findings and recommendations and explicitly references the need for a Right to Local Supply and the Local Electricity Bill: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/5718/documents/56323/default/
Ministerial Meeting Offered
This Tuesday, Wera Hobhouse MP followed up on the debate last week by asking the Energy Minister a Topical Question in Parliament: would the Minister meet with her and us to find a way forward? The Minister (Anne Marie Trevelyan MP) said yes, so we will be taking a cross-party delegation to meet with her, probably over the summer recess. This is good progress – another step forward.
SP Energy Networks Now Supportive
Finally another piece of good news: last month SP energy Networks joined our supportive coalition, meaning three of the six Distribution Network Operators – the companies which own and maintain the energy grid infrastructure across the UK – support the Bill. Having these huge grid companies on board will help a lot.
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Comments on "Update on the Local Electricity Bill"
Which 3 of the 6 District Network Operators have joined your coalition?