Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer pledged at the party conference in Liverpool to launch a nationalized energy company within a year of the party taking office.
Sir Keir Starmer caused waves during his speech at the Work Party conference, after announcing that the party would introduce a new state-owned energy company within the first year of taking office.
But if Labor secures the keys to No 10 and implements their plan – what could a nationalized energy company mean for the general public – and what could it mean for a greener future? NationalWorld spoke to Professor Aimee Ambrose, energy policy professor and energy poverty expert at Sheffield Hallam University, to break down the situation.
What could a nationalized energy company mean for utility bills?
There is no doubt that the biggest worry for people in the UK right now is the rapidly rising price of gas and electricity bills. Sir Keir hopes to allay that concern by introducing the new nationalized service.
“Exactly what form a nationalized energy company would take will vary, the devil will be in the details to a large extent,” says Aimee.
“We have six or more large energy companies dominating the market in the UK at the moment, many of which are linked to larger international companies. We would have a default supplier, presumably, of gas and electricity, as we did decades ago.
British Gas had been nationalized until it was privatized by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher in 1986.
Aimee said: “For decades we have been told that the best way to get the best energy deal is to shop around constantly, switch suppliers, compare offers – this puts pressure on the market to win your business.
“We know it doesn’t really work. People don’t have the time or the free space or don’t always have the energy or the financial literacy to be able to navigate these decisions. It’s very hard work at the bottom of the pile in a busy life and people don’t get the best deal.
So would nationalization really reduce the cost of household energy bills? Aimee explains that the difference in priority between private and public companies may hold the answer to this.
“I think it will help reduce energy bills, partly because the focus is not on profit but on reinvestment. There won’t be as much – I hope – a profit element built into energy prices.
“Our energy bills are made up of two parts, the cost of the energy we actually use, and then there’s the ongoing charges that are really a pretty big part of our bills – those core charges are what pay for improvements to our Energy Infrastructure.
“Seeing what a nationalized company would do about these ongoing charges is going to be crucial to understanding how much cheaper people’s bills will be under this proposal, but as I said, the profit element which I hope would be less and so people notice the difference fairly quickly.
What could this mean for green infrastructure and jobs?
Not only could a nationalized company mean lower household bills, but there will also be a focus on reinvesting in green energy solutions. During his speech, Sir Keir outlined Labour’s green plans alongside the nationalization plan announcement, promising to invest in the UK’s green energy supply to wean off the original energy international.
“That’s going to be crucial for all of that and to make sure we don’t end up in an energy crisis like the one we’re experiencing right now,” Amiee says.
“The big problem right now is that the fuels that are used to produce our heat and electricity are traded in a volatile international market. It’s not under our control.
“With this plan, we will produce renewable energy ourselves. It is under our control. The price of renewable energy or energy produced from renewable sources has remained stable throughout this energy crisis. So we need to have a lot more of it in our energy mix and a lot less gas and oil traded internationally. »
Green energy solutions not only have the advantage of being less volatile in the market and the environmental factor, but reinvestment in these types of solutions could also create more jobs in the sector. Sir Keir talked a lot about this subject in his speech to the Labor Party Conference in Liverpool.
During his speech, the party leader referred to Labour’s “Green Prosperity Plan”. This would include doubling Britain’s onshore wind capacity, tripling solar, quadrupling offshore wind and investing in tidal, hydrogen and nuclear power sources.
Aimee explains: “If we invest more in the development of household energy, renewable energy infrastructure for the UK, it will create a lot of jobs.
She also broke down the specific need for ‘green jobs’ in the future, saying, “We need jobs that are going to last into the future, you know, in a way that jobs related to Fossil fuels are not safe, they are not stable. They shouldn’t be because they shouldn’t be a big part of our future.
The plan for this is in France. The government partially nationalized the energy company EDF and currently owns an 87% stake in the company. The French government announced in July 2022 that it was considering fully nationalizing the company and boosting the country’s nuclear production.
“I think it gives us confidence here in the UK. This is a realistic step, and we should take it.