Ofgem calls for energy system reform

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Commenting the recent call by energy regulator Ofgem for radical plans to safeguard Britain's power supplies and tackle climate change, Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins, said: "Ofgem has rightly recognised that the free-market energy system is failing the UK.

"Power firms make vast profits, consumers get ripped off, millions live in fuel poverty, and the UK has failed to make a significant shift to a low-carbon energy future - despite this country's huge renewable energy potential.

"We need better regulation to protect consumers and the planet by ensuring that billions of pounds are invested in slashing energy waste, boosting the green power sector and safeguarding security of supply.

"A commitment to radically reform the energy system must be a significant element of all the political party manifestos."

Ofgem said there was "reasonable doubt" over the security and sustainability of Britain's energy supplies because of the financial crisis, environmental targets, dependency on imported gas and the closure of ageing power stations. It put forward a number of measures to raise the estimated £200 billion Britain may need to invest by 2020 to ensure power supplies, and proposed the creation of a central energy buyer that would set the amount and type of new power generation needed.

This is something that the editors of the GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW have been saying as regards to the the utilities for years and years. Utilities such as electricity, gas and also water must not, ever, be in the hand of private companies and especially not foreign entities, and neither must public transit, whether national rail services or local and city ones. None of these should be in private hands.

The so-called free market must not be used for the utilities and that also because they cannot deliver the needs at a reasonable rate to the consumer. Not only is the free-market energy system failing the country; the entire free-market utility and public transits system is doing so too.

Time to go back to the future, so to speak, and use the tried and tested methods of years ago. The Electricity Board and the Gas Board worked, as did British Rail, and the Water Board. They were not perfect but, as they were state-owned, they delivered the products at a reasonable rate without having to think of shareholders. The same was true with the postal and telephone service when it was the GPO.

© 2010