Ofgem revokes Victory Energy licence as 'ghostly figure' haunts Portsmouth City Council
THE ‘ghostly figure’ of a defunct energy supply firm created by councillors continues to haunt the civic offices.
The Victory Energy spectre remains an ‘arm’s length’ company owned by Portsmouth City Council as it holds a potentially valuable utilities licence.
As reported, the council joint venture scheme was axed, resurrected and killed off again in the midst of political tussle over control of the authority - to the loss of more than £3m taxpayers’ cash.
The final decision to close the company, which entered an ill-fated sponsorship deal with Pompey, was made in November 2018.
But 18 months on the company still exists, and is still owned by the city council with top officers and senior councillors as directors.
Leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson told The News: ‘It’s still there as a ghostly figure. It looks as if we got away lightly - the two other big players in municipal energy is Bristol, whose debts are over £30m, and it’s expected to be wound up this year, and Robin Hood Energy.’
Bristol City Council poured in £35m to set up its firm in 2011 but is now looking to sell, with it not expected to recoup the full costs, Sky News reported. And Nottingham’s Robin Hood Energy posted a £23m loss for 2018/19, and has pointed advisors, it has been reported.
Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: ‘We’ve tried to sell it and nobody would buy it.’
Victory did hold an Ofgem licence for energy, meaning anyone who bought the firm would be able to operate it ‘oven-ready,’ Cllr Vernon-Jackson said.
But Ofgem revoked the energy supply licence on March 25 as the firm failed to operate. It is not trading or operating, the council confirmed.
The company is no longer staffed, and even its office artificial Christmas tree has been thrown away.
In his budget speech in February, Cllr Vernon-Jackson said the 2018 ‘decision to shut down Victory Energy has saved the city many millions’.