Barking and Dagenham Council’s Beam Energy will concentrate on renewable energy technologies, following the sale of partner Robin Hood Energy to British Gas.
The London council founded the supplier in December 2018 as a white label of Nottingham City Council’s proprietary not-for-profit energy supplier.
Beam Energy was intended to supply affordable renewable energy to Barking and Dagenham residents and tackle fuel poverty in the borough. At the time 12.3% of the households in the borough experienced fuel poverty, above the London average of 11.4% and the mean for England of 10.2%.
Beam Energy offered customers tariffs in the cheapest quartile of energy prices in London and supplied free power to financially struggling households on Christmas Day. All aspects of Beam’s operations, including power supplies, billing, metering and customer relations were managed by Robin Hood Energy from Nottingham.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking and Dagenham, said: “Beam Energy has done a good job of providing cheaper energy at a time when prices were being hiked and customers could do very little to stop it.
“We set it up to fill a gap in the market at the time, and to really support people who are in difficult financial circumstances, often living hand to mouth and paying expensive rates with pre-paid meters.”
However, the supplier attracted just 600 households in 21 months of operation.
Now, following Nottingham City Council’s sale of its beleaguered supplier to British Gas, those 600 households will be transferred to British Gas and Beam Energy will shift to promoting renewable energy technologies in the borough.
It will work to ensure local households have access to affordable renewable energy systems such as heat pumps and solar panels, to efficiency upgrades like insulation and electric vehicle charge-points.
Rodwell said that the introduction of the energy price cap had lessened the need for a local supplier.
“Over the last year or so, I’m pleased to see that the government has listened and taken action by introducing price caps, changing the whole nature of the market and more importantly, giving customers better rates and more protection from price hikes. The major players have been forced to match lower prices, which is great for all energy customers.”
”Now that progress has been made in the energy market, our focus in Barking and Dagenham needs to be on renewable energy as we try to make our borough carbon neutral by 2050,” he added.
The town hall insisted that the closure of Beam Energy as a supplier would have no financial impact for the Barking and Dagenham Council.
Meanwhile, Robin Hood Energy cost Nottingham City Council at least £38.1 million, funds that won’t be recouped by the sale to British Gas, a deal reportedly worth £26 million.
British Gas will match Beam Energy customer’s tariffs with equivalent or better deals and households won’t face exit penalties if they wish to switch to another provider. Both British Gas and Barking and Dagenham Council will be in contact with Beam Energy customers in the coming days.
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