Council-owned energy company moves to offload customers as debts pile up
A COUNCIL-OWNED energy supplier whose clients include Jeremy Corbyn, the former Labour leader, is in talks to sell customer accounts after falling into heavy debt.
Robin Hood Energy has hired Deloitte to oversee the sale of its book to an unnamed buyer. The firm was launched by Nottingham City Council in 2015 but fell into financial difficulty last year. The council was forced to write off loans worth more than £24m after the supplier failed to make money. Rivals Octopus and EDF have been the main buyers of domestic customer books in the past few years, experts say. However, many of the larger suppliers are understood to be on the hunt for bargains as the pandemic rocks the energy industry.
Robin Hood’s parlous financial situation was revealed in August when the company finally released long-overdue financial statements following a delay of over seven months.
The accounts show that the company lost £23m in 2018-19, and that Nottingham council’s investment is now worthless. Council officials have said a review of the company is being carried out with all options still on the table, including a sale.
Nottingham City Council said that it had “recognised for some time that the long-term financial outlook for Robin Hood Energy was not sustainable”.
Meanwhile staff at council-owned Bristol Energy have been told that the business intends to sell its domestic customer accounts after falling into financial trouble, a company source said.
Bristol City Council has injected £35m into the business since 2015. Last month, the company said that it had sold its 4,000 business customer accounts to supplier Yü Energy for £1.3m.