Public Ownership of the Utilities

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2009 Energy Service Group Conference
2 March 2009

Conference Notes:

i)The economic crisis which has spread rapidly across the globe, forcing thousands of businesses into bankruptcy and millions of workers into unemployment and poverty;

ii)The hundreds of billions of pounds of public money which has been spent by governments across the world trying to prop up the world financial system in order to try and prevent total economic collapse of the major financial institutions;

iii)The British Government’s claim that the private market is the most appropriate mechanism for managing the vital national infrastructure and resources of the energy sector has been shattered by this economic disaster and could prove to be even more costly to the public as the crisis deepens.

Conference believes:

i)The energy utilities provide a vital national service and should be publically owned and controlled so they can be run in accordance with the needs of the population rather than subject to the whims and wishes of the market;

ii)Public ownership will eliminate the drive for profit which leads to excessive bonuses for senior executives, attacks on the employment contracts of ordinary employees and an ever increasing cost to the consumer;

iii)Public ownership will allow a properly funded national plan to be implemented to invest in the generation of clean energy. Through democratic control this can meet the needs of future generations without repeating the short-sighted, profit-motivated mistakes of the past such as the Dash for Gas and the abandonment of serious investment in new generation capacity which is seen as a commercial risk;.

iv)Public ownership of the energy industry will give the government direct control over the measures necessary to tackle and eliminate the scandal of fuel poverty, without having to try and bribe industry to do so;.

v)Public ownership would negate the necessity for costly government bodies which have been created to monitor the utility industries and the even costlier need for research, reports and legislation to impose clean energy targets within the utility industry.

Conference instructs the Service Group Executive:

i)To commission research to determine the most practical and cost effective mechanisms for bring about the transfer of the utilities from the private to public sector;

ii)To circulate the results of this research to all Energy branches;

iii)Based on this research, to draw up and implement a campaign which has as its goal the introduction of legislation to bring the energy companies back into public ownership;

iv)To bring back a report to the 2010 Conference outlining the progress of the campaign.