Sutton Council have agreed to carry out an independent review of the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) following claims about its financial sustainability.

The review comes after months of concerns raised over the quality of the council-owned energy supplier, which residents rely on to receive energy to their homes and businesses.

The council said that SDEN was introduced in 2016, to combat the climate emergency and provide low carbon hot water and heating to homes at the New Mill Quarter development in Hackbridge.

But over the past twelve months, residents at the New Mill Quarter have reported around twenty network fails which have left hundreds of them without heating and water.

Councillors and MPs have claimed that those living at the development are paying above average for the service which "isn't reliable".

Your Local Guardian: Elliot Colburn outside New Mill Quarter Elliot Colburn outside New Mill Quarter

Carshalton and Wallington MP Elliot Colburn commented: “Lib Dem-run Sutton Council’s management of the SDEN project has been nothing short of a total disaster.

“Residents were promised a service with 100% resilience but suffer regular hot water and heating blackouts.

“Instead of the competitive pricing that was marketed, residents have been paying above market average prices for patchy services.

“And now the failing Council-owned project could be in for huge financial losses from its potential mismanagement of millions of pounds of public money, which has caused misery to residents on New Mill Quarter.

“Residents have no faith that the Lib Dems care about them, and are sceptical that this review will have any real outcomes.

"What is needed is the promised resilient system and a compensation package worth the paper it’s written on.”

Chair of New Mill Quarter Sheldon Vestey has since claimed that the company was set up to meet the planning obligations for the Beddington Incinerator.

"At a certain point, we need to look at the facts and figures, including the planning documents, mayoral questions and the waste strategy and realise SDEN was established to permit this behemoth of pollution," he said.

"And that to do this, unrealistic pricing was baked into the financial models to ensure a high enough revenue to permit millions of pounds of investment."

At a council meeting on July 12, Sutton Council announced 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."