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Sir Simon wades into juice war with energy giant

PUBLISHED: 12:43 25 February 2009 | UPDATED: 15:58 07 September 2010

Sanchez Manning BORIS Johnson s right hand man Sir Simon Milton has waded into the battle between City Hall bosses and an energy giant over the word juice . London s Deputy Major for Planning, Sir Simon, has spoken out about the tussle between npower and

Sanchez Manning

BORIS Johnson's right hand man Sir Simon Milton has waded into the battle between City Hall bosses and an energy giant over the word "juice".

London's Deputy Major for Planning, Sir Simon, has spoken out about the tussle between npower and Westminster council.

Npower is threatening to sue the local authority for calling its electric car recharging posts 'juice points' which it says infringes on the trademark of its green energy packages 'npower juice'.

Speaking on behalf of Boris Johnson, Sir Simon defended the council, which he was leader of until Summer last year when he left to join the mayor's team.

"The Mayor believes electric and hybrid cars are an important part of London's efforts in tackling pollution, and supports the introduction of on-street recharging points," he said.

"We are therefore disappointed that a major company such as npower is making matters difficult for a local authority which is seeking to encourage more environmentally friendly travel."

The Mayor part-funded the installation of 60 free 'juice points' across Westminster in 2006 and has confirmed plans to add six more this year.

He also pledged £395,000 to double the number operating in London to 175 by 2010.

Cllr Danny Chalkley, Westminster's environment and transport chief, accused npower of showing "complete disregard" for the environmental benefits of the recharging scheme.

He also branded the company's criticisms illogical.

"Some of the arguments they've made in defence of their actions, such as their 'juice' being a 'market leading iconic brand' are complete nonsense, and do not stand up to any scrutiny," he said.

"It's illogical to claim our juice points are confusing to their customers.

"If it wasn't for the very real costs the council would face if this went to court, and the time and effort we will waste rebranding to prevent that, their actions would be laughable.

"Their legal threats are contrary to all common sense and show they are out of step with the public mood.

"What next? Threats to Tropicana for referring to their drinks as orange juice?"

Npower hit back this week and told the Wood&Vale they first started using the "juice trademark" to identify their renewable energy offers in 2001.

An npower spokesman said: "We wish Westminster well and we would like to see their initiative work but it should be under their name, not ours.

"It is disappointing that the council do not seem to have carried out routine trademark checks before launching their programme."

A Westminster Council spokesman said the two sides were due to meet on Monday in an attempt to resolve the row and avoid an expensive court case.

sanchez.manning@hamhigh.co.uk

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