Bristol Energy: Troubled company sells off business accounts

Bristol Energy managing director Peter Haigh (second from right) with Bristol mayor Marvin ReesImage source, Bristol Energy
Image caption,
Bristol Energy has so far received more than £30m in taxpayers' money

A troubled council-run energy supplier which has posted losses of more than £32m has sold its business customer base.

Bristol City Council put Bristol Energy up for sale in June.

Since it was established in 2015, the council has pumped £35m into the failing project.

The company's 4,000 business customer accounts have now been sold to Nottingham-based sustainable supplier Yü Energy for £1.34m.

Bristol Energy supplies green gas and electricity, and was founded during Bristol's year as European Green Capital.

Last month, Bristol's mayor, Marvin Rees, said the decision to enter the energy market, taken under his predecessor George Ferguson, was a mistake.

Bristol Energy sold £76m of gas and electricity in the UK in the year to 31 March 2019, but running costs led to a £10m loss.

His Labour administration had continued to invest millions in the company, but an audit report in May this year showed changing market conditions and the coronavirus pandemic had wiped £7m from its value.

Opposition councillors had described the energy firm as a "dead weight" on the authority's finances.

They also called for an independent inquiry into the firm, accusing Mr Rees of a cover-up.

Yü Energy already has 9,000 business customers in the UK and, like Bristol Energy, offers what it says is 100% green power.

Negotiations continue over the sale of the domestic customer accounts, which is the larger part of the business.

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