Failing UK Energy Market

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2009 Energy Service Group Conference
2 March 2009

Conference reiterates its long held belief that privatisation of energy companies and liberalisation of the energy market have not worked in the long term interests of consumers, the wider community or the employees. An unacceptable number of people are falling into ‘fuel poverty’ as energy bills remain too high and incomes fall. Conference regrets that the so-called benefits of privatisation seem to have largely gone to shareholders and directors of the energy companies. Conference re-affirms its support for the public ownership of energy companies.

Conference believes that just as the credit crunch has exposed the failure of ‘leave it to the market’ philosophy in financial services then the shameful increase in the number of households in fuel poverty has exposed the failure of the competitive market in energy generation, distribution and supply.

Conference agrees with the Stern Report’s view that a ‘leave it to the market’ philosophy is wholly inadequate for the achievement of the Government’s climate change strategy. It is also threatening investment in renewables and clean coal technologies. In response to the financial crisis some companies are also making redundancies thereby losing valuable experience and expertise.

In order for a sustainable, affordable energy supply in the future Conference calls on OFGEM to focus on the companies cost of capital and investment plans and to spend less time trying to interfere with employees’ pensions or micro-managing functions like shared services.

Conference calls on the Executive to:

i)Ensure that branches are fully briefed on these issues so that they can lobby local opinion formers;

ii)Continue its campaign work with fuel poverty organisations to lobby for a more generous and comprehensive scheme aimed at eliminating fuel poverty;

iii)Work with branches and regions to challenge all redundancies and attacks on conditions of service which seek to achieve cost reductions at workers’ expense;

iv)Oppose any attempts to offshore energy jobs in the pursuit of more profit.