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To think gas, electricity and water should be supplied by the government?

(79 Posts)
Thisisaname Fri 18-Jan-13 20:13:25

Prices the companies are charging are ridiculous!

I'm not saying it should be free, just the same as it is now but is fully controlled by the government, everyone with jobs with those companies now is to work with the government and anyone who would loose their job would probably easier find one due to more people having money due to it being regulated so people buy more stuff and companies have more money so more people to employ.

Also these companies tend to tax avoid so more money on that front and the government HAVE to publish what they pay per unit and how much profit they make and where it goes.

Someone tell me AIBU before I retrain in politics and run for mp, pleeaassee

hrrumph Sat 19-Jan-13 22:08:55

Well it used to be the case. There were a lot more power cuts then. And as I understand it, things weren't terribly efficient. The trouble with monopolies is that no competition generally leads to complacency.

SisyphusDad Sat 19-Jan-13 22:01:30

The one thing that no one has mentioned is investment.

What happens if you spend almost nothing on looking after your house for several decades? Answer: it falls down.

Well, that's what successive governments did with the gas, electricity and water infrastructure. Transferring ownership to the private sector meant that they didn't get the blame for all the extra costs for renewing the national grid, the gas network and the water and sewerage piework that would otherwise have collapsed. You've also got the levys to support renewable energy - a new gravy train for dodgy businesses that we have to pay for.

Not saying that the utilities are saints, but the real picture is rather more complicated.

InMySpareTime Sat 19-Jan-13 11:30:04

If housing associations built in micro-generation schemes to social housing, they could negotiate a decent bulk price, slash fuel poverty rates and raise domestic green energy generation levels all at once. They don't because the maths doesn't add up, especially with the HB caps.
Insulation and impartial advice for families on cutting bills (and how to join/form co-operatives to shop around for the best price) will help people immediately, renationalising will just mess it up for at least a few years until it all gets sorted out or not, as is usually the case

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 19-Jan-13 11:10:39

YABU. Nationalised power would not be cheaper necessarily because any shortfall caused by an increase in wholesale prices would be met by the taxpayer... still us.... Fossil fuels are not getting more plentiful so prices are on an upward trajectory.

What I would support is a mass insulation, modernisation and domestic/commercial property power-generation initiative paid for out of tax money. It's already happening to a certain extent but it could be beefed up. Would create lots of jobs making/installing insulation, domestic bills would drop and the nation would be a little less reliant on overseas-sourced energy. Win-win

docsarah Sat 19-Jan-13 10:48:42

My water and electric bills in East Anglia are much cheaper than my parents' or sister's equivalent (electric + water rates) in Northern Ireland. The deregulated companies also have to meet regulator's standards which IIRC have really reduced the amount of leaks. Compared to my sister in NI, who has been told that the drain problem which has flooded out her entire street twice in the past 4 years won't be fixed until at least 2015, I know where I'd rather be.

Also, it's not difficult to shop around for cheaper electric and gas, is it? I also think the onus is on householders to make sure they're as efficient as possible - I have real sympathy for renters who might be stuck on pre-paid meters and can't undertake improvements to make their house more energy efficient.

lozster Sat 19-Jan-13 10:25:29

.... Also, I've posted this many times before here so apologies if everyone knows already, but ebico have a flat rate charge so if you are on a pre-pay card meter you are not charged any more than anyone else. The rate for me on ebico is not the very cheapest I could get but personally I agree with the principle social energy. The poorest people should not be paying the highest rates.

lozster Sat 19-Jan-13 10:14:06

Oh dear, the comments on nationalised industry being 'communist' have made me titter and reminded me of the McCarthy witch hunts! You are either too young to remember Thatcher selling off the family silver or have a short memory! Also, I take it you live in fear of the nhs and the education system?

Good or bad, I don't think nationalisation is going to make a come back. There is an alternative though that is available at the moment which are not for profit fuel cooperatives. They negotiate a wholesale price then sell on not for profit. Ebico is the most well known. The more people join up the harder they can negotiate. Ebico is relatively large so a quick google will find them.

..... And 'No Sir, I am not a communist'. grin

EuroShagmore Sat 19-Jan-13 09:27:23

I can just about remember the pre-privatisation times. I wasn't much involved with gas, electric and water at that age, but I do remember it taking many weeks to get a phone line (also under govt control) connected and things like that.

MadameCastafiore Sat 19-Jan-13 07:13:29

I love it when people say nationalise things, it will be better!

No it bloody won't. I went from working for a private company to working for the nhs and it is a shower of shite, full of lazy arses who would have been dismissed if they worked for a private company but as is almost impossible to lose your job in nhs we have to keep paying them. Is also terribly inefficient, money is wasted left right and centre and there are more bloody regulations and bodies that regulate the nhs than you can shake a stick at.

I wouldn't be surprised if the government (labour or Tory) ran the gas and electric companies that we had no power for a couple of hours each day.

Ha ha and can you imagine the bloody unions would pop back up and somewhat like the underground we would be held to bloody ransom. It wasn't all hearts and flowers and shitting butterflies under nationalisation!

JollyRedGiant Sat 19-Jan-13 07:09:49

In Aberdeenshire, water was £182 for the year of 2012/13.

Sewerage was an additional £211.

Link here -

catgirl1976 Sat 19-Jan-13 07:00:24

Thanks Doctrine blush thanks

I do work in energy trading so it's a rare thread I actually know something about smile

youngermother1 Sat 19-Jan-13 01:18:22

ohlimp great speech by a much maligned man, but wrong - the 80's and 90's were a great time. Completely ruined by Gordon Brown and Tony Blair - current lot are picking up the pieces.

Shallishanti Fri 18-Jan-13 23:40:31

mmm, v prescient of NK
OP, we did have all that, it was nationalisation (seemed obvious to me when I was growing up)
Thatcher got rid of it and said that we all had CHOICE that would bring an efficiency
so now we have an efficient system, great isn't it
this is why us oldies spit when her names mentioned

PeneloPeePitstop Fri 18-Jan-13 23:35:07

Bravo, oh

bureni Fri 18-Jan-13 23:31:30

I am thinking this thread only applies to England as other parts of the U.K do seem to have government suppliers of water etc which are far cheaper to the user than what England seems to pay.

OhlimpPricks Fri 18-Jan-13 23:31:12

'I warn you. I warn you that you will have pain – when healing and relief depend upon payment. I warn you that you will have ignorance – when talents are untended and wits are wasted, when learning is a privilege and not a right. I warn you that you will have poverty – when pensions slip and benefits are whittled away by a government that won’t pay in an economy that can't pay. I warn you that you will be cold – when fuel charges are used as a tax system that the rich don't notice and the poor can't afford. I warn you that you must not expect work – when many cannot spend, more will not be able to earn. When they don't earn, they don't spend. When they don't spend, work dies. I warn you not to go into the streets alone after dark or into the streets in large crowds of protest in the light. I warn you that you will be quiet – when the curfew of fear and the gibbet of unemployment make you obedient. I warn you that you will have defence of a sort – with a risk and at a price that passes all understanding. I warn you that you will be home-bound – when fares and transport bills kill leisure and lock you up. I warn you that you will borrow less – when credit, loans, mortgages and easy payments are refused to people on your melting income. If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old.’

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 18-Jan-13 23:30:23

But Debs, EDF etc more or less do buy a whole country's energy supply in bulk, as they are buying for several markets at once.

Debs75 Fri 18-Jan-13 23:27:20

If the govt supplied the water, gas and electiricty and charged us the rip off prices that the big 5 do they could probably solve our countries debt within two years. Imagine the saving they could make if they bought a whole countries woth of energy in bulk?
It will never work though as the govt don't like helping us poor plebs at all and they would see this as bailing us out not as controlling the harsh fuel price rises

bureni Fri 18-Jan-13 23:17:28

England also buys a lot of its green energy from Ireland which prevents the EU from imposing fines due to the lack of renewable energy in the country which in turn is due to the NIMBYS.

Sallyingforth Fri 18-Jan-13 22:20:12

We buy our electricity from EDF. Owned by the government - the French government. Their profits go to subsidise the French economy, not ours. That can't be right.

bureni Fri 18-Jan-13 22:11:07

Wannabe, I have heard of them but do not have access to them in my area (out in the sticks) besides I supply all my own electricity bar what the washing machine and oven take from the grid which I hope to do away with in the near future if the funds are there. It is the cost of water that people are paying that is crazy, I know my water service and supply are far from perfect but it does not warrant the high costs that people pay through private suppliers.

BelleDameSansMerci Fri 18-Jan-13 22:09:39

While we're at it, can we return the trains and stop the privatisation of Royal Mail too?

I can remember nationalised industries and they were not well managed at all. I believe that nationalisation can work and probably would work better now. It will never happen though.

PeneloPeePitstop Fri 18-Jan-13 22:03:21

This shower couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery. Your utilities would be permanently out of order!

Wallison Fri 18-Jan-13 22:01:45

That's interesting about China. Back in the day when I lived in Russia, heating was also centrally controlled there. And free. From October to April, it was on 7 days a week 24 hours a day, hot water likewise. When I had parties in my apartment I had to open windows because we got too hot! So I suppose what I'm saying is that even the communists got one thing right - there were no babushkas dying of hypothermia over there.

Anyway, it's a little hysterical to say that one has to be a communist to be in favour of publicly-owned utilities - after all, that's how it was in the UK for a long time, even during tory administrations.

PessaryPam Fri 18-Jan-13 21:35:28

Anyone on here old enough to remember how expensive food and fuel was back in the 70's before Thatcher?

I have been to Cuba and it's a large open prison island. I don't want that here ta very much.

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