New figures show how much Bolton Council spent on energy in 2022/23 from a freedom of information request.

It was revealed that Bolton Council was in the top five councils in the UK which spent the most on energy, with only Manchester City Council, City of London Council and Islington Council spending more.

Read more: Johnson Fold UCAN Centre shuts over lack of use

The request was submitted by Bolton-based energy consultancy, Box Power CIC.

The council spent a total of £24,340,000, paying 44.3p/kWH for electricity and 21.3p/kWH for gas.

UK councils typically bought their electricity for 32p/kwh and gas for 9p/kwh.

Until this point there has been no benchmark for councils to see how they have performed, meaning many will be unaware if they have paid over the odds.

Read more: Smithills Hall unveil plaque in memory of Margaret Koppens

Manchester City Council paid the most with a total of £34,792,433, paying an average of 62.1p/kWH for electricity.

Councils buy energy in bulk in advance and have hedging policies in place to ensure they get a good deal.

They also tend to have a degree of flexibility on when they purchase energy and can often leave this nearer to the date of supply so it’s more cost effective.

However, the energy crisis that followed Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 caught some councils by surprise, leading to much higher bills.

Read more: Bolton's 5-star rated takeaways and sandwich shops

A spokesperson for Bolton Council said: "Bolton’s amount looks so much larger compared with other councils because it includes VAT which we then claim back and energy used by schools and other buildings which we then claim back. 

"The final amount we actually end up paying is in line with what you’d expect for a council of this size."

Corin Dalby, chief executive of Box Power CIC, says: “These results are the first deep dive we have of what local authorities in Greater Manchester are paying for their energy.

“It’s simply not the case that factors such as the war in Ukraine made it inevitable that some authorities would have purchased at a much higher rate – as the disparities between the prices paid in our Performance Table clearly shows.

“We will continue to call for greater transparency and openness within the energy market, so we help bring in fairer energy prices for businesses, public bodies and individuals.”