THE leader of Bournemouth council has held talks with his Southampton counterpart about joining its not-for-profit energy company.

At its meeting on Tuesday, it was confirmed that discussions have taken place between Bournemouth council’s top councillor, John Beesley, and Cllr Christopher Hammond about it joining the city council’s scheme, CitizEn Energy.

Cabinet member Cllr Mike Greene made the revelation following a request from Cllr Andy Jones who has encouraged his colleagues to look into the merits of becoming a partner in the project.

Launched by Southampton council in June, CitizEn Energy provides gas and electricity to the city’s residents, as well as people across the south of England and the Midlands.

Power is provided through Nottingham City Council-run Robin Hood Energy which became the first utility firm to be owned by a local authority in 67 years when it was set-up in 2015.

Bournemouth council signed a letter of support as part of the process of establishing CitizEn Energy and at its meeting on Tuesday, cabinet member Cllr Mike Greene said that they would be “considering the merits” of becoming a partner in the scheme.

“The council recognises the important role that a local authority can play in local energy projects to deliver benefits to residents and businesses,” he said.

“Cllr Beesley, has been very much involved in discussions with his opposite number on Southampton City Council in the hope that Bournemouth council might indeed participate in the CitizEn Energy initiative.”

He added that the council would investigate the merits of becoming a partner in the project following the publication of a finalised endorsee agreement by the Hampshire council.

His comments followed a question from Cllr Jones who, after the meeting, said that he thought the council joining the scheme would be a “win-win” for the council and Bournemouth residents.

“This is definitely something we should be looking into,” he said. “Fairer energy prices will help people struggling to heat their homes.

“Being a not-for-profit they have a bigger impetus on improving efficiency and prices so, in my view, it’s a win-win for all involved.

“I was encouraged to hear that talks had been ongoing on this topic and I look forward to seeing their outcome.”

CitizEn Energy has plans to work with as many as 13 other councils across England to provide gas and electricity as an alternative to the ‘big six’ utility firms.