A council-run energy company is to continue operating once a new partnership has been finalised with a provider created by Nottingham City Council.

The council is in final negotiations to enter into a five-year contract with Robin Hood Energy, which will become the new operator for Southend Energy.

It comes after members of the council’s Place Scrutiny Committee gave their backing to the new partnership, which had been agreed by council leaders last month.

Southend Energy customers will continue to receive an energy supply without interruption and without the need to switch suppliers however, the council has not confirmed whether it will mean higher bills.

A price hike would prove to be a controversial issue for Southend Energy customers as most have been encouraged to switch from their previous supplier by the council to get a better deal.

If they wish to, customers will be able to leave Southend Energy and join OVO Energy, who had been partnered with the council since the scheme launched in May 2015.

The council had asked OVO to extend their partnership until 2025 but the negotiations which begun in 2017 collapsed and OVO asked to pull out before their five-year contract ended in 2020.

As a result, the council had to either partner with an alternative provider or close the company entirely, leaving almost 4,000 households having to be moved onto an alternative supplier.

The council claims that Robin Hood Energy was the only option for them because the large energy suppliers are unwilling to partner on a smaller company like Southend Energy.

Carl Robinson, director for public protection at Southend Council, said: “Members approved a deal with Robin Hood Energy in principle, subject to agreeing a suitable commercial deal.

“We will continue discussions with the company to finalise the details of the deal. As such, we cannot comment on the price, however we will relay information with current customers as soon as possible.

“The new five-year contract is the same length of the deal we signed with OVO, so we are confident of a long-term relationship with Robin Hood Energy.

“We are delighted the deal has been agreed in principle as very few energy companies plan to expand the way that Robin Hood Energy has, which fit the needs of the council and the service users.”

Final negotiations are underway and it is expected that Southend Council will oversee the marketing of the company which will be paid for through fees that are earned with every customer that switches. Meanwhile, Robin Hood Energy will manage the day-to-day operations of the company.