Labour is planning to make good on its promise of nationalising UK energy firms within 100 days of taking office if it wins the December 13 election. That’s according to shadow chancellor, John McDonnell.
The industry has at times criticised Labour’s policy of taking energy firms into public ownership, as many worry whether a Labour government would pay a fair price for the companies. If Labour were to undervalue the energy companies, it could lead to pension pots around the country plummeting.
Despite this, McDonnell and the rest of Labour are keen to get moving, with the party hoping to launch a new UK National Energy Agency, which would not only own the UK’s Big Six suppliers, but also own and maintain the national grid.
National Grid, the private company currently charged with running the UK’s energy infrastructure, has said that nationalisation is the ‘last thing’ the industry needs. The company has invested heavily in the roll-out of the smart grid and green energy, and said that Labour’s plans could hinder that progress.
If the Labour party are successful and win the December 13 election, they don’t believe that their plans will hinder the transition to green energy at all. In fact, the party is bullish about what it can offer promising ‘long-term sustainable investment’.
John McDonnell commented, “People feel ripped off, and we believe that under public ownership and management in the form that we’ve set out now – not the old-fashioned nationalisation but a new form of public ownership in which people are in control, the workers, the users, the consumers, the passengers and yes, of course, expert management – we can manage them effectively, and make sure that they’re contributing to the wider policy agenda of climate change, and at the same time reduce bills.”
Labour’s commitment to taking the energy companies into public ownership within the first 100 days in office comes just a day after many consumers reaped the benefits of the smart grid. That’s because Octopus Energy, a private firm that offers ‘smart’ energy tariffs, paid consumers to use more electricity at night time, when there was too much electricity on the system and not enough demand.