Boris bashes Ken’s energy co-op plans

Ken Livingstone’s plans for an energy co-op have taken a bashing from incumbent Mayor Boris Johnson, days after the pair allegedly shared a slanging match after a radio interview. In […]

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By Vicky Ellis

Ken Livingstone’s plans for an energy co-op have taken a bashing from incumbent Mayor Boris Johnson, days after the pair allegedly shared a slanging match after a radio interview.

In the run up to the Mayoral election, Mr Livingstone is appealing to Londoners feeling the pinch, claiming he could slice £120 off household bills with the London Energy Co-Operative, which would let people “piggyback” on the bigger buying power of Transport for London and the Greater London Authority.

The energy buying group would be given a “seedcore investment” of £2 million to start with, ELN has learned, although Mr Livingstone’s team could not say how many people they expected to join the group.

Boris Johnson was sceptical about this money-saving promise.

A spokesman for the ‘Back Boris’ campaign said: “This is another one of Ken Livingstone’s uncosted promises. Would any Londoner really trust the man who ramped up their council tax bills by £964 to be in control of their energy bills?”

But energy suppliers themselves have been less quick to shout down the plans which could threaten their own customers, despite being targeted by Mr Livingstone in his play for votes – he claimed his Co-Operative would help “break the stranglehold” of “rip-off” energy firms like the ‘Big Six’.

A British Gas spokesman said: “We support the call from Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, for new ways for customers to buy energy – and we support the principles of collective buying. This is a new way to buy energy and there is a lot of detail to work through.”

While a spokesman for npower said: “We support the objectives of making energy bills and tariffs easier to understand and improve transparency that the Big Switch and the proposed London Energy Co-operative seeks to achieve… Our main priority has to be to our customer base and giving them the best possible service.”

EDF Energy added: “We will always consider any new initiative which helps customers find the best deals for their individual needs – as long as they are consistent with our values on fairness and transparency.”