Leonie Cooper: The Mayor’s London Power company can set new standards for ethical energy

Leonie Cooper: The Mayor’s London Power company can set new standards for ethical energy

Sadiq Khan recently launched London Power, a new energy company that will deliver renewable energy to Londoners at market-leading prices. More than one million Londoners – the highest number since records began – currently live in fuel poverty, and our planet is in the grip of a climate emergency. It is vital that Londoners have access to well-priced, clean energy options that work for them.

The energy market has been dominated for too long by the Big Six. This has kept prices high and service standards low. According to the energy regulator Ofgem, around 54 per cent of customers have been on higher-rate standard variable tariffs for at least three years, and are therefore likely to be paying hundreds of pounds too much for their electricity and gas. The average amount needed to lift fuel-poor London households back into the black is a staggering £298, rising to £385 for those living in the private rented sector. Ensuring customers are getting the best deal is a vital tool in tackling fuel poverty.

That’s why I’m so pleased that City Hall is partnering with Octopus Energy, the only Which-approved energy supplier in the UK, to deliver London Power. This scheme comes with a commitment to put each customer on a competitively priced 12 month fixed tariff for electricity and gas, which will always be within the cheapest 10 per cent of comparable tariffs available in the market.

It is estimated that this could save the average London household around £200 a year if they switch. At the end of the 12-month contract, customers will be rolled over onto the cheapest comparable tariff – unlike standard practice by the Big Six. Giving Londoners an ethical, fairly-priced energy option will help pull up standards in the rest of the market, benefiting other customers and the rest of the UK.

Guaranteeing that London Power delivers 100 per cent renewable electricity – a manifesto commitment – will be a welcomed by all of us deeply concerned about the climate emergency. Over one third of London’s carbon emissions actually come from energy consumption in the home, so reducing this source would make a significant contribution to meeting net zero carbon ambitions. Investing proceeds from London Power back into making London’s homes more energy efficient, adding to the nearly 27,000 homes already retrofitted in this mayoralty, will further reduce carbon emissions and bills at the same time.

I hope that other cities soon follow the model set by London. Bringing energy under local control is vital if we are to ensure the energy sector works for people and the planet, so it is great to see City Hall taking the sort of action which materially improves our environment and the lives of Londoners.

Leonie Cooper is London Assembly Member for Merton & Wandsworth and deputy chair of the Assembly’s environment committee.

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