Why Labour's pledge to "renationalise electricity" doesn't go far enough

Chris MacMackin - 1 November 2018

And how a Canadian province might show the way forward to deliver cheap, sustainable, democratic, planned electricity supplies.

Much was made of the Labour Party’s supposed commitment last year to renationalise energy. Certainly the pledge to return the electricity grid to public ownership was welcome. However, beyond that, there was no promise to nationalise anything. Instead, it pledged to support “the creation of publicly owned, locally accountable energy companies and co-operatives to rival existing private energy suppliers”. Meanwhile, a supplementary industrial strategy document suggests that most generation will remain private, with perhaps some co-operative and council ownership of small renewable projects

The reason most people would favour returning energy to public ownership is to better control prices and the sources of electricity. They seldom have to deal with the local grid company and never have to deal with the national grid. Thus, Labour’s focus on renationalising only the grid can not, on its own, address people’s concerns. Prices and tariffs are issues with the energy suppliers, which Labour has only pledged to compete against rather than nationalise. The source of our energy is an issue of generation, on which Labour has said little at all.... See more

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