Wednesday 21 February 2024
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Nottingham

Enviroenergy: Business liquidated with no residual debt left to taxpayers

Nottingham City Council has confirmed it will soon complete the liquidation of Enviroenergy, just over a year after taking its services in-house.

Enviroenergy Ltd was run as separate company to provide heating for around 5,000 homes and 70 businesses including the MotorPoint Arena.

But last November the council decided to end it as a standalone company and run its services direct.

Before it was brought in-house Enviroenergy was propped up with numerous loans, with £11m remaining unpaid as of November 2021.

But transfer of assets from the company to the council was completed in December 2021.

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The council says this was “in lieu of the debts referenced, to enable the company to be wound-up without residual debt”.

As the liquidation is essentially administrative, the running of the heating network will not be affected.

Neil McArthur, Interim Director of Commercial and Procurement, told a meeting of the Nottingham City Council’s Audit committee on Friday (November 24) that the wind-up was imminent.

“The liquidation is at hand. That will be the next step, the liquidators are pressing the council,” he said.

“I can’t commit to a date yet.”

Councillor Michael Edwards (Lab) remarked: “For some reason, we kept Enviroenergy going as a company even though we couldn’t claim the benefits.

“It took years to decide what to do.

“It’s good that there has been some kind of regime change.”

Enviroenergy had saved the council £5m per year by burning waste which would otherwise have been sent to landfill, generating renewable energy.

However, the network is around 50 years old and requires a multi-million investment to keep providing services to customers.

The decision was made in 2021 to bring the business in-house, while the legal entity of Enviroenergy Ltd is liquidated.

The council said at the time that Enviroenergy has been profitable every year since 2013, apart from 2017.

It comes as the council is reforming how it runs companies on the instructions of an Improvement and Assurance Board, which was appointed by the Government to oversee change following the collapse of Robin Hood Energy.

The Audit committee meeting heard that all deadlines for changes have been met so far.

Council leader Councillor David Mellen (Lab) said: “We have had to take a deep dive into the companies and make sure we’re very clear on what we expect from companies.

“We need to ensure the companies we own are not just viable but doing what we need for the people of Nottingham.”

Mr McArthur added: “The response from companies has been that they are better understanding what the council wants from them, and the relationships are improving.”

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