Bristol Energy was the city councils ill-judged foray into the complex privatised energy market. The ‘TL;DR’ is that it failed to make any money for years, and it was taxpayers who were on the hook for the cost of those failings, and the failings were all over the place. Now the auditors are reporting on the debacle and the findings are pretty shocking. (Huge kudos to Joanna Booth and others for their work in putting this key info public discourse!)
Cabinet approved a secret business plan that suggested BE could be losing £8m a year. Should cabinet not resign? pic.twitter.com/CBGiXYmlEA
— Joanna Booth (@stillawake) January 16, 2021
Let’s get into it. Some choice quotes and comments;
“…business planning and decision making process … became out of date in a highly volatile energy market…”
So right from the get-go they were operating on out of date assumptions. When the foundations of the plan are messed up; how could it ever have made it?
“[Bristol Energy’s] business plan represented an overly unrealistic view of how BE might perform…”
Sounds like more wishful thinking was going on! It’s easy to be all positive and full-of-fizz on a plan, but money spaffed here, is money not being used for vital council services. But don’t worry, the council has in-built systems to ‘self correct’ issues by using strong oversight! Huzzah!
“[The Council] Audit Committee members should have had a closer involvement with the issues relating to the Council’s investment in BE during the year.”
Oh. Oh, dear. But that is not all:
Utterly scathing report on Bristol Energy by the auditors with information not made available to cabinet about the company’s financial position and business plan even at January cabinet. Only one who gets a name check is Craig Cheney, deputy mayor. https://t.co/uCXrgVwD6R pic.twitter.com/eFWyp31ZNq
— Joanna Booth (@stillawake) January 15, 2021
And the cherry on top? The boss of this money-losing enterprise got a pay rise??!!
And the BE Director paid £322K in his final year. What is the price for ‘premiership’ failure in local authorities ?
— Fatbird (@Glutenfreescone) January 16, 2021