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LGC View: Energy

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National political leaders are currently grappling with failure of the UK domestic energy market. The debate has generated more heat than light and obscured the fact that councils across the country have been working on short- and long-term answers to reducing customer prices and securing long-term sustainable energy supply.

More from: LGC View: Energy

Not only that, councils have the opportunity to create jobs and revenue while saving their residents money.

Our scan across the country has revealed diverse approaches, from harnessing natural resources to levering the buying power of local people to secure lower bills.

Cheshire East has plans to use geothermal energy which it predicts will power homes and businesses.

Cornwall is using its climate to benefit a region that badly needs investment.

This will strengthen the region’s economy and political base - power generation in both senses.

As LGA leader Sir Merrick Cockell points out, councils have also turned into consumer champions by encouraging people to switch suppliers - and were doing this long before the current row erupted. This will win valuable support for councils in the tough times ahead.

Indeed, the next wave of switching bids promoted by councils could offer energy firms the chance to do their job and compete for customers.

Local government is using its position of trust and innovating on behalf of the people it serves - just as Joseph Chamberlain did in Birmingham in the 1870s when he bought the local gas firms and made a profit.

Chris Smith, deputy editor chris.smith@emap.com

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