Energy Secretary claim that more “competition” in natural monopolies will drive down prices is rubbish says GMB
Tuesday, Feb 11, 2014

Privatising and breaking up natural monopolies like water, gas and electricity has been a disaster which has seen our infrastructure starved of investment to the point where we are at risk of the lights going out says GMB

GMB, the union for energy workers, commented on the letter that Ed Davey, Energy Secretary, has written to the regulators Ofgem and the CMA raising questions about the dominance of British Gas. See notes to editors below for copy of letter.

Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said “There is a need for an honest debate about the shape of energy in the future not the attention seeking announcements from the hopeless Secretary of State for Energy.

GMB totally condemn profiteering in any industry where it is happening. In past investigations OFGEM has foolishly concluded the so called energy “market” is working.

GMB has been clear that privatising and breaking up natural monopolies like water, gas and electricity supply has been a disaster. It has seen our energy infrastructure starved of investment to the point where we are at risk of the lights going out. Consumers have been ripped off by financial engineers who too often make a fortune out of monopoly assets like pipes and cables.

Ed Davey has opportunistically unleashed a hugely damaging feeding frenzy on a British owned company. This company has invested billions to securing reliable energy supplies for the UK. It employs and is committed to employing tens of thousands of workers in the UK. This comes at a time when thousands of jobs in the energy sector are being exported to low wage economies by foreign owned companies.

British Gas is probably the biggest employer of apprentices and trainees in the UK. Hundreds of apprenticeships in smart metering that would have been created this year probably won't be because of Davey's dithering over policy. He now threatens to wreck thousands of more jobs.

If an investigation is warranted it should have been carried out appropriately not by a ministerial leak to the press leading to a witch hunt.

To suggest there is going to be significantly more competition which will drive down prices is rubbish. We have energy companies who are losing money selling energy to customers and to suggest that companies are rushing to get in to a market where they have a good chance of losing money whilst getting slated by politicians and the media is rubbish.

What we need is proper regulation in these natural monopolies. Government itself should undertake this regulation and be it should be accountable to Parliament in how it does the job.”

Source: GMB

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