A municipal enterprise is a company set up, wholly owned and run by local government.
Municipally owned companies are growing across the UK as cash strapped authorities recognise their power to raise revenues and create good jobs in the local economy. The presence of municipal enterprises can increase local economic stability, as the incomes of residents are less reliant on the whims of the private sector.
Democratic oversight of these organisations allows for the pursuit of social, economic and environmental outcomes beyond profit maximisation, and encourages the provision of needs that may be neglected by the market.
Case study – Hackney Light and Power
To help deliver on its goal of becoming net-zero carbon by 2040, the London Borough of Hackney has set up Hackney Light and Power. Hackney Light and Power is wholly owned and run by the Council and provides clean electricity whilst generating revenue for reinvestment in decarbonisation.
The enterprise aims to create revenue by generating decentralised solar energy from rooftops around Hackney. Surpluses will fund the first borough-wide thermal efficiency housing programme in London, which aims to reduce energy demand and fuel poverty by insulating homes at zero cost to the household. Hackney Light and Power also plan to roll out electric vehicle charging points across the borough and supply renewable energy to the national grid.