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The National Grid - Privatisation vs Nationalisation debate!

  • 21 May 2019
  • 7 replies
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The National Grid - Privatisation vs Nationalisation debate!
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Debate time!

Labour have unveiled a plan to make the National Grid public ownership. The BBC have written an article on the subject, and we want to know what super user @Transparent thinks about it. If you’re unaware, this user is involved in a local energy group, and attend regular meetings with their regional DNO Western Power. National Grid seems dead against the idea, are you?

They’ve also written a sister article about the effect privatisation has had on the energy industry. It’s got some great insight into how this has affected customers and the usage costs. @ITGeek123, @SparkySi do you agree with Labour’s belief that it will “usher in a Green Industrial Revolution”?

Let’s have ourselves a bit of a debate, privatisation or nationalisation, which side of the fence are you on?

7 replies

Userlevel 5
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Being a Telecomms (old) man I'm old enough to remember the days of the GPO when you had to wait 6 months to get a new telephone line and quite often you got a party line due to lack of capacity. Call charges were expensive and overseas calls extortionate. The electricity board had high street shops selling electrical goods at high prices, there was no competition.
You got your electricity from Powergen and gas from British Gas and paid what they asked for.

As soon as the markets deregulated, prices fell due to competition.

So having grown up in that sort of background you can imagine that I dread the re-introduction of nationalisation!
Userlevel 7
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So having grown up in that sort of background you can imagine that I dread the re-introduction of nationalisation!

1 vote for privatisation then ✍

Powergen - is this now the private (and German?) Eon, as that's what comes up when I google it @PeterR1947 ...?

@Transparent is holding back the urge to jump in on this, I can feel it! 😂
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Yes Tim, Powergen did become EON eventually.

Powergen was formed in 1989 by the UK government prior to the privatisation of the UK electricity boards in 1990. The company was set up as a public limited company to acquire half of the Central Electricity Generating Board’s generation capacity. The Central Electricity Generating Board was responsible for all the electricity generation in England and Wales until 1990.
Userlevel 7
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Wow @PeterR1947 I didn't know that!! Everyday is a learning opportunity right!

Agree, I think @Transparent is distracted and maybe on Grandparent duties hence his lack of engagement on this!! Lol!

@Absolute Zero @UC Bear @SianiAnni @Brainatbub Any thoughts or views on this?
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I have mixed feelings. I don't think any individual should be profiting from something like provision of fuel and energy. And I think it's a ridiculous waste of time to spend hours looking for better deals on everything from energy to communications to insurance every year, when the tariffs on offer are just not comparable. It also disdvantages many sectors of society who don't have the wherewithal to make those choices.

However I do recognise that competition has opened up the way to innovation, and this is hugely important in the efforts to tackle climate breakdown. But then if we all use less energy and want it from renewable sources, where do the investors get their profits from? As I've said before on this forum, low energy users are penalised for using less because standing charges mean they in effect pay more per unit of energy. I know we all have to pay for the infrastructure, butat the moment it's not done in an equitable way. So yes, I have mixed feelings.
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Agree to some extent @SianiAnni , having so many players in the market across a lot of different utilities does make things sometimes more confusing for consumers. I think you are right as well in regards to some things just not being easy to compare as companies are able to do things in different ways, so causes confusion with the consumer.

OVO set out to try and simplify the energy sector by having only a small number of tariffs, which is still the case today, to try and make it easier for customers to choose the right tariff for them, but until others follow suit, consumers will still suffer the difficulty in comparing like for like.
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I believe it is possible to nationalise our utilities as I do not like the idea of shareholders making a profit from our most vulnerable (poorest) people. Problems would be making sure they are efficiently run with no waste and "empire building" by managers. Accountability would be another challenge.

One possible advantage could be a decision to invest in renewables rather than the current fossil fuel subsidies. Perhaps legislation to have new buildings positioned to make best use of, and, have solar generation and batteries fitted.

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