Today, campaign group Power for People thanked Manchester Withington MP, Jeff Smith, for supporting a Bill that would increase locally generated clean energy in Manchester and across the country, helping to reduce the UK’s reliance on gas.
The proposed new law, known as the Local Electricity Bill, is supported by a cross-party group of 301 MPs. If made law, it would create a new ‘Right to Local Supply’ of energy that would empower communities to sell locally generated electricity directly to local households, businesses and local public services. This is a key recommendation of the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee, who advise the Government on environmental policy, following their 2021 inquiry into community-scale renewable energy.
Currently, customers can only purchase electricity from nationally licensed utilities. The Bill’s supporters say this means that the money people use to pay their energy bills is not helping to strengthen local economies or build new local clean energy generation infrastructure. Both are now more crucial than ever, as the UK works to combat the two great challenges of climate change and the devastating impact that the covid-19 pandemic has had on local economies.
Jeff Smith, MP for Manchester Withington, said:
“I am pleased to support the Local Electricity Bill which will empower and enable new community energy companies to sell energy they generate directly to local people, helping to strengthen local economies. This would help accelerate our transition to clean energy and could reduce our dependence on natural gas. This is crucial in avoiding the potential economic and ecological devastation of the climate crisis. I will continue to support efforts to ensure it becomes law.”
If the Bill were made law, campaigning group Power for People say that it would lead to a twentyfold increase in community energy generation within ten years. Power for People are calling for MPs and the Government to make the Bill law and are leading a supportive coalition of organisations including Community Energy England, Community Energy Scotland, Community Energy Wales, Good Energy, WWF, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB. 100 local authorities have also pledged their support.
Power for People’s Director, Steve Shaw, said:
“We thank Jeff Smith MP for supporting the Local Electricity Bill. If made law, the Bill would unleash the huge potential for new community-owned clean energy infrastructure, making our energy system more robust and boosting local economies, jobs, services and facilities in communities across the country.”
Power for People are encouraging local people across Manchester to get involved with the campaign.
Responding on behalf of the Government on the 30th November 2021, Minister of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister, Greg Hands MP, said of the Bill that the Government “agree with its broad intentions” but not the detail. The campaign continues.