You’d think that if a company’s previous experience of running major UK infrastructure included poorer customer service, higher bills, massive debts, complex tax structures and profits siphoned off to its parent company, they’d struggle to get business in this country again.
And yet Macquarie – who once ran Thames Water in such a flawed way – has been successful in their bid to run the National Grid’s distribution business.
The experience of Thames Water customers when Macquarie was running the show should have been a red flag to ministers and regulators as how unsuitable this company is to be in charge of the UK’s gas supply.
They’d proved they can’t be trusted with the nation’s water supply, but now they’re going to be in charge of gas pipes to millions of homes and businesses.
The government has said it wants to invest in UK infrastructure, yet these are not terribly encouraging first steps.
Ministers may like to talk about industrial strategy, yet they don’t seem to have much desire to retain key parts of the nation’s infrastructure in UK hands.
If we’re not careful, this kind of deal could become the norm in Brexit Britain – and we’ll all suffer as a result.