Posted: Sat 24th Sep 2022

Nationalising UK energy industry could save households as much as £4,400, says TUC

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Saturday, Sep 24th, 2022

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Returning the energy companies to public ownership could save UK households up to households as much as £4,400 over the next two years, research by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has said.

Soaring energy bills have pushed millions of households deeper into fuel poverty despite the Government’s new Energy Price Guarantee.

Many businesses are also struggling – from small high street restaurants to factories, threatening job security and quality.

So are schools and local authorities, threatening the provision of public services.

Immediate help is needed to ease the burden of the energy crisis on households and prevent job losses.

TUC analysis shows that the UK government is missing out on £63 billion – £122 billion of direct income over the coming two years, due to past decisions to privatise our power plants and the resulting lack of UK public ownership of electricity generation.

The union body says that revenues the UK tax-payer is missing out on “could have covered much of the cost of the UK government’s Energy Price Guarantee.”

From 1st October, a new ‘Energy Price Guarantee’ will mean a typical UK household will now pay up to an average £2,500 a year on their energy bill for the next two years, the Price Cap is currently set at £1,971.

The TUC says that if the UK today had a public energy champion similar to EDF in France, EnBW in Baden- Württemberg (Germany), or Vattenfall in Sweden, a “significant portion of the excess profits taken by privatised electricity generators due to soaring wholesale prices would be coming instead to the government.”

UK Government would be able to use these revenues – equivalent to £2,250-£4,400 per UK household – to reduce bills or accelerate home insulation roll-out.

The TUC is calling for the UK government to set up a public energy champion to invest into new clean power, accelerate decarbonisation, create the high-skilled quality green jobs of the future, and share the benefits of the climate transition with the population.

Their analysis shows that a British public energy champion could build and control between 27 GW – 77 GW of new clean generation by 2040, if similar in scale to the roll-out of renewables by public energy companies in France, Baden- Württemberg (Germany), and Sweden, but delivering by 2040 rather than 2030.

The TUC says: “This is equivalent to adding clean generation equivalent to between one and three times the UK’s current renewable generation capacity.

“This would see the public energy champion generating clean power representing between 9.5% and 27% of the UK’s 2050 total electricity needs, as forecast by the Climate Change Committee in its Balanced Net Zero Pathway.”

“A UK public energy champion could accelerate the deployment of new clean power – including developing new technologies where the private sector is slow to scale up, including floating offshore wind, tidal stream, zero carbon hydrogen, and new nuclear. ”

“Like public energy companies across Europe have done, it can innovate to create the clean power solutions we need for the future. It can make use of the state’s ability to plan for the long-term and ensure that climate targets become a reality.”

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “Every family deserves access to affordable, clean energy. But privatisation has led to higher bills and colder homes. We need a fairer, greener approach that stops energy companies using UK families like cash machines.

“French, Swedish and German families benefit from public ownership of electricity – why shouldn’t we? If we set up our own UK public energy champion, we can have lower bills, free home improvements to reduce our energy needs, and a safer climate for future generations.

“The green transition gives us the chance to take public stakes in clean power as we expand our renewable energy supply. And cheaper bills is not the only benefit. We can make sure that our national energy champion provides high-quality jobs, with good pay and job security too.”

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