Liverpool Council saved money after massive energy blunder

Liverpool Council is expected to save millions on its gas and electricity contract after a massively costly mix-up that was passed onto city schools.

In the summer of 2022, council leaders were not informed that the electricity provider it was dealing with had withdrawn from the commercial market, leading to the local authority being placed on vastly more expensive terms. This led to schools across Liverpool being hit with a £2.3m bill for their energy.

Now, as the authority looks to accelerate its move towards net zero and work on its provider for 2026 and beyond, new data has revealed the council recouped vital funds last year.

In July 2022, the city council’s cabinet approved entering into contracts for the supply of electricity and gas with Crown Commercial Services (CCS) after the error made by officials. Forecasts for the current year have indicated that energy costs for the current year will be almost £3.3m lower than previously budgeted. 

It has now entered into a 12 month fixed rate agreement through the public buying organisation. The new terms now lock the council into a fixed rate, having to respond quickly to the costly blunder for the last year.

The local authority’s cabinet is recommended to endorse the plans to roll over the contract for 2025-26 when it meets on Tuesday, 20 February. The council is also expected to move to accelerate its progression towards net zero by 2030 as per its declaration in 2022.

From 2026 onwards, it will seek to source green electricity and for an additional cost would be able to guarantees of origin.

Cllr Ruth Bennett, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and resources, said, “This forward planning is all part of the council’s improvement journey, making sure we give ourselves the time and space to make considered decisions, so we get the best value for residents and partners. We have already made significant savings over the last year thanks to the prudent decision to lock into a fixed rate deal in 2023.

“This is an opportunity to take a good look at the market and weigh up the opportunities and risks, before making a decision on our options for 2026 onwards.”

Cllr Nick Small, cabinet member for growth and economy, added, “Reducing energy consumption in our buildings and securing power from renewable sources is key to the council achieving Net Zero by 2030, helping tackle the climate emergency. I very much welcome this planned approach to renewing our energy contracts to put us in the strongest possible position to deliver on our commitments and make sure we get good value for residents.”

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