Sutton councillors have agreed to carry out an independent review of the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) following enquiries about its financial sustainability.
At a meeting of the council on 12 July, there was cross-party agreement that some claims had been made that damage the reputation of the Council and its wholly owned company SDEN, and that an independent investigation was needed to restore the confidence of councillors, the public and SDEN customers.
Cllr Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing, Economy & Business Committee, said:
“There has been no denial that the project has encountered its difficulties. An infrastructure project of this size would be unusual if it had not. The delayed build-out of the site has eroded projected profits considerably and the large number of power outages has caused considerable concern for residents and the Council alike.
“However, serious allegations have been made publicly, and in writing, challenging the integrity of the project. So we have agreed an independent investigation is needed to put to bed the concerns about SDEN.
“We are happy to do this because we have complete faith in the integrity of the modelling, the integrity and competence of the officers involved in the work, the professional expertise of KPMG who reviewed the model, and the democratic processes that relied on it.
“An independent investigation will enable everyone to have that same confidence.”
The Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) was created in 2016 in response to the climate emergency. It provides low carbon hot water and heating to homes at the New Mill Quarter development in Hackbridge with a view to potentially expanding it to other areas in later years.
SDEN helps the borough reduce its carbon emissions and impact on the environment. It offers Sutton residents access to locally-produced renewable energy instead of using fossil fuel-generated energy supplies.