On 10 October 2017, the First Minister, Rt. Hon. Nicola Sturgeon MSP, confirmed the Scottish Government’s ambition to establish a publicly-owned not-for-profit energy company by the end of the current Parliament. The Scottish Government is committed to having a public energy company offering retail energy supply by the end of this current Parliament (March 2021).
Developing the Concept
Following the First Minister’s announcement consultants EY were commissioned to deliver an independent Strategic Outline Case to consider options for how the public energy company could be developed. The EY report was published in April and has helped inform consideration of next steps and that the approach is viable; regulatory compliant and is focussed on delivering key outcomes.
The EY report indicated that a phased approach to building up a public energy company over time would be preferred to maximise benefits and likelihood of success. The outline business case will investigate this in more depth; particularly focusing on white label arrangements, similar to a ‘franchise’ for energy supply. This would be offered as close to cost price as possible; supporting our efforts to tackle issues such as fuel poverty and the harm it causes. Ultimately the ambition is to move in later phases towards energy generation and direct supply, optimising the role of energy in developing Scotland’s economy.
Scotland’s Energy Strategy highlights the importance of local energy systems. We want to work with local authorities to develop a locally based approach. The Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands has invited COSLA to work alongside the Scottish Government to develop these opportunities. This can help support existing local ambitions to support communities and develop energy solutions.
The Scottish Government is commissioning an Outline Business Case (below) to develop a detailed proposal. This is expected to be concluded towards the end of 2018. As part of its development the independent consultants will engage with key stakeholders to inform their conclusions. Once Ministers have considered the report a full public consultation will be held setting out the proposed approach; our vision and what the energy company should and should not do.